Founded by Dr. Matthew Tetlow in 2012, the company is working at the cutting edge of technology, building spacecraft as well as space traffic management and “smart” Earth observation services as part of Australia’s nascent space industry.
“I have always loved looking at the moon, the stars and the planets, there’s so much we still don’t understand about the universe around us.” says Dr. Tetlow.
“I also love the technology that brings us closer to this knowledge, especially the rockets and satellites. As a nation, Australians often undersell what we are capable of. And we rely heavily on sourcing our needs from overseas. Inovor Technologies allows me to follow my passion for spacecraft and demonstrate to the world what Australians are capable of.”
Headquartered at Adelaide’s innovation neighbourhood, Lot Fourteen, the company is working collaboratively amongst a range of fellow space companies and with high profile neighbours like the Australian Space Agency.
The satellite market has traditionally been dominated by very large spacecraft the size of a car or even a bus and cost hundreds of millions or even a billion dollars. Inovor Technologies makes small satellites, from about the size of a case of beer to a bar fridge. Despite their smaller size, there is still much they can achieve, and at a fraction of the cost. This includes space domain awareness, Earth imaging, communications, climate science, AgTech, scientific experimentation and more.
Inovor Technologies’ satellites are placed into low Earth Orbit, which is done for a number of reasons. For a much cheaper price, the satellites can ‘ride share’ on rockets that are delivering much larger spacecraft into orbit. Where the company’s satellites operate in low Earth orbit is also low enough to be self-cleaning, so that when the mission is complete, the satellites de-orbit and harmlessly burn up in, without adding to the ‘space junk’ problem.
Inovor Technologies’ unique edge is the intellectual property it has developed through in-house development of all spacecraft mechanical, electronics and software systems. This allows for full understanding of all systems across the satellite platform, which maximises mission assurance and enables the spacecraft to be tuned specifically to meet customers’ mission needs.
In addition to building satellites for their customers, Inovor Technologies also has two special missions of its own. The first is ‘Hyperion’: a space traffic management mission to detect, track and characterise objects in orbit around Earth. The second is ‘Skyris’: for “smart” Earth observation in application areas including bushfire detection, monitoring crop health and maritime surveillance. Both missions take advantage of Inovor Technologies’ novel on-board processing algorithms. These allow for more immediate results to be returned from images taken by the spacecraft and remove delays from downloading and processing large numbers of images back on Earth.
Inovor Technologies has received a number of accolades over recent years, including being awarded Australia’s “Space Business of the Year” alongside Dr. Tetlow’s “Innovator of the Year” award. The company’s reputation with the big end of town has also been growing, with the Regional Director Lockheed Martin Space recently commenting that “… Inovor Technologies, [is] the only spacecraft manufacturer in Australia developing bespoke spacecraft subsystems, and with deep experience providing satellite mission solutions for Defence …”
Dr. Tetlow remarks that “I hope in the future we will see the very large amounts of money being spent on space technology by Australia overseas coming back into the country to improve our sovereign self-reliance, creating many more jobs, especially for our young people, and providing a really positive impact for our economy and way of life. Inovor Technologies is doing all it can now to create this future.”