Satellite spy firm seeks ASX listing to help stop boats and secure borders

Kleos Space's planned small satellite constellation will help locate people smugglers and pirates

A Luxembourg-based satellite company has announced its intention to list on the Australian Securities Exchange, eyeing what it describes as a huge opportunity for its technology to help secure Australia’s coastline.

Kleos Space plans to launch a constellation of 20 small satellites in 2019. The satellites are able to locate communications from satellite and mobile phones and marine very high frequency radio.

The satellites will be able to determine a signal's location to within 100 metres, allowing customers to pinpoint the “ships of undesirable users such as; drugs/people smugglers, terrorists, pirates, illegal fishermen and also from those in need of search and rescue” the company said.

The data gathered from geolocated radio transmissions will be sold for search and rescue, maritime security and regulatory intelligence purposes.

The initial Geolocation Intelligence Mission will utilise Kleos' proprietary in-space manufacturing technology which can create carbon composite 3D structures – such as antennae – from a satellite in orbit.

“This type of data will be of significant importance and application for countries like Australia, who have large coastline borders, and are under the constant threat of drug and people smuggling, and activities such as illegal fishing,” Kleos said in a statement.

“The Kleos Space data will allow security agencies to better track and detect, as well as monitor, illegal vessels trying to enter Australian shores, and to protect Australia’s vast coastline.”

The company, which recently raised $2.2 million in seed funding, intends to establish sales offices and local intelligence offices in Australia. Money raised from the initial public offering will be put towards satellite procurement and to help grow sales.

“Australia is a key target market for Kleos Space. Its geolocation data will be of huge value to agencies tasked with managing and protecting Australia’s coastline from people and drug smugglers, and illegal fisherman,” said Kleos director and co-founder Andy Bowyer.

The announcement comes six months after Kleos signed MoU with the Luxembourg Ministry of Economy for the government to support the company’s research and development phase.

List and launch

If successful in its bid to list, Kleos will become the second satellite company on the ASX, following the listing of Sky and Space Global (SAS) through a reverse takeover of Burleson Energy in 2016.

SAS' aim is different to Kleos, seeking to connect the millions of people around the world unserved by telecommunications infrastructure.

In September SAS said it had sent instant messages, voice recordings and images using its three ‘Diamonds’ satellites, and achieved a world first: the first phone call facilitated by nano-satellites.

Adelaide start-up Fleet in April, raised $5 million in funding to launch a constellation of nanosatellites it says will help connect the world’s 75 billion devices by 2025. The company plans to launch the first of more than 100 planned satellites later this year.

There are currently four Australian-built satellites in space, three participating in the European Union's QB50 project (ECO, INSPIRE-2, SUSat) and another, a Department of Defence project (Biarri-Point), which was deployed into orbit from the International Space Centre in July.

In September, the Australian government announced its plan to establish a national space agency.

“A national space agency will ensure we have a strategic long-term plan that supports the development and application of space technologies and grows our domestic space industry,” said then acting Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator Michaelia Cash at the time.

A review into Australia’s space industry is due to deliver a strategy to help the country capitalise on opportunities within the sector to Government by March.

The Australian Space Industry Association estimates the national space sector is worth about $4 billion a year, employing up to 11,000 people.

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Tags communicationsTelecommunicationssatellitespacesatellitesnanosatsatellite communicationssmall satconstellation

More about AustraliaAustralian Securities ExchangeBurleson EnergyDepartment of DefenceSASSky and Space GlobalUnion

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