Sky and Space Global (ASX:SAS) talks launch of 3 Diamonds nano-satellites


by Carolyn Herbert

Sky and Space Global Limited (ASX:SAS) Managing Director and CEO, Meir Moalem discusses the company’s upcoming launch of its 3 Diamonds nano-satellites and company outlook.

Sky and Space Global (ASX:SAS) is a new space company, which strives to disrupt and revolutionise the satellite communications market. The way we do that is through the use of nano-satellites, which are very small satellites, the use of advanced technology and software and being able to provide affordable communication services to anyone, anywhere, anytime. And when I’m saying services, this is phone calls, texting, instant messaging, WhatsApp, machine to machine and Internet of things.

The 3 Diamonds, the red, green and blue are about this size, so kind of half a shoebox size. And we will use them to demonstrate all of our capabilities, so we will launch them three weeks from now. And we will demonstrate doing a phone call with them, sending a text message, downloading data from a flying aeroplane over Australia down to the ground. In the meantime doing emails etc. etc. So all the capabilities that Sky and Space Global will provide as commercial services, will be demonstrated and actually will be sold by the 3 Diamonds, to our first commercial customers.

First of all, our satellites if you are thinking what are the differences, are much smaller. The usual satellites are tens of kilograms, or hundreds of kilograms in mass and ours are three kilograms each, again this size instead of huge sizes. We’re utilizing the improvements and advancement in technology in computer science, processing power etc. So you can provide the same existing services of let’s say, satellite phones, but with much smaller low cost satellites.

If you have satellites and you want to put them into space, you need a launcher or a launch provider. Our first three satellites, because there’re only three and they’re very small, we’re piggybacking on an Indian launch, on board the PSLV launcher. Highly reliable, very efficient launch, which is due as I’ve said, three weeks from now and we’ll keep our fingers crossed. For the constellation itself, we need dedicated launchers because we need to set, not only the schedule, but also the orbit parameters, the entire launch parameters for that.

We have a contract with Virgin Galactic, or maybe I should call them Virgin Orbit, they’ve just changed their name, for four dedicated launches that will deliver a significant part of our constellation into space. But we’re also talking with other launch providers as well through the entire globe. And once we’ll get an agreement with them as well, of course we’ll announce that. One of the challenges that we have as a satellite constellation operator is controlling the orbits of the satellites. In order to control the orbits of the satellites, we need to know exactly where they are at each given moment and how that orbit’s changed, over time.

The way we approach that is signing an agreement with the US Department of Defence, which monitor space objects. So they will monitor our system, they will provide us with early warnings from other objects in space. So it’s a mutual benefit agreement that we have. We’re always working on additional agreements, we have a lot of stuff in the pipeline, but we have obligations to our shareholders. Once something happens, we disclose that, before that a lot could happen. We’re working on a lot of things.

Company financials are quite solid. At the moment, we’re just post the last capital raise of $10 million. So we have a good enough and solid funding for the operations of the company, for the future. This follows two additional very successful fundraisings that we had. We’re working on our full constellation, that’s 200 satellites, launching these 200 satellites. That will require additional funding down the road, but we’re at the very good position pre-launch of the 3 Diamonds, as far as the market cap is concerned, as far as the possibilities, what’s on the table and what the future foresees for the company itself.

The company looks at generating revenues as soon as possible. So we will launch our first satellite, the 3 Diamonds, we will test them for a few weeks. Then immediately afterwards, after we make sure everything works properly, we will start generating revenues. Because we already have committed customers, signed agreements with them. And we will do additional commercial demonstrations actually all throughout the globe, with additional customers for future agreements and future revenues. The big revenues will start to come once we get this constellation up and running. So by 2019, we foresee hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues with conservative estimates.

As I’m looking at the near future and the long-term activities of the company, so for the immediate future, of course launching the satellite successfully and operating them, and starting to generate revenues. Immediately after that, continue working on the constellation, on which we have started and deploying it successfully in space. If I look at the even longer term, so let’s say three/four years from now, we have very very challenging expectations and plans to expand our business to other areas as well. But I think it’s still a bit premature to talk about it at this time.