• Image of Capitol Hill, Canberra acquired by the SSTL S1-4 satellite. (Supplied)
    Image of Capitol Hill, Canberra acquired by the SSTL S1-4 satellite. (Supplied)

Australian smart satellite provider LatConnect 60 and Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) have announced the first partnership under the UK-Australia ‘Space Bridge’, a program launched earlier this year by the Australian Space Agency and UK Space Agency to boost investment and knowledge across both countries’ space sectors.

Under the partnership, Perth-based LatConnect 60 will provide high resolution optical data from the SSTL S1-4 Earth observation satellite, bolstering the firm’s satellite imagery and data analytics capability in Australia.

LatConnect 60 says the announcement is a major milestone for the company which will now control its first operational asset and move into a growth phase ahead of the launch of its own smart satellite constellation above Australian skies in 2022.

SSTL, which is a subsidiary of Airbus, has launched over 70 satellites for 22 countries over the last three decades. Its participation in the world’s first ever Space Bridge program, which was launched in February 2021, demonstrates the "growing influence of Australian companies and paves the way for further collaboration that will create more jobs and opportunities in the space sector".

Through the new satellite, LatConnect 60 will generate high resolution panchromatic and multispectral optical data which its team in Western Australia will further process to provide analytics-ready data products and insights for sectors ranging from mining, agriculture and government.

Venkat Pillay, CEO of LatConnect 60 said that the partnership would strengthen Australia’s national satellite capability.

“We are very excited to have signed this agreement with SSTL and to be working together at the forefront of space innovation," Pillay said. "Our satellite service will boost Australia’s, and the region's, strategic observation capabilities.

“Utilising satellite capacity exclusively in Australia, LatConnect 60 will be able to fill key data gaps for customers, while developing local capability which will create jobs and help grow the rapidly emerging Australian space sector.”

“We are very pleased to announce this new contract for SSTL S1-4 data with LatConnect 60 which furthers the UK’s ties with the Australian space industry and brings SSTL’s sub metric Earth observation data to new markets," Phil Brownnett, Managing Director of SSTL added.

Karl Rodrigues, General Manager (acting) at the Australian Space Agency (ASA) said the partnership was an important development in the UK-Australia Space Bridge.

“Australian businesses and researchers have even more opportunities to showcase their capabilities to the world," Rodrigues said. "It is an important step in helping to grow Australia’s space industry through international partnerships.”

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