Skykraft Secures $120 Million in Funding for Aviation Satellite Vision
Skykraft, a Canberra-based space technology company, has raised $120 million in funding to advance its aviation satellite vision. The company has developed satellites that aim to improve communications between air traffic control and aircraft flying over remote areas. After two years of fundraising, Skykraft’s CEO, Dr. Michael Frater, has successfully secured enough capital to deploy a full constellation of satellites into low-earth orbit.
In order to attract the right investors, Skykraft positioned itself as a transport infrastructure company rather than a purely technological or space-focused venture. Dr. Frater explained that while technology is an integral part of their operations, the essential characteristics of infrastructure investments, such as long-term contracts and high credit ratings, also apply to their business model. The funding round was led by Main Sequence Ventures, a deep technology venture capital fund supported by the CSIRO, and included Foresight Australia and OPTrust as major investors.
Skykraft’s satellites are designed and manufactured in Australia and are launched into orbit on SpaceX rockets. The company’s mission is to establish a global air traffic management service that provides real-time communications between air traffic controllers and pilots, allowing for safer and more energy-efficient flight path planning. In situations like the disappearance of flight MH370 in 2014, a comprehensive satellite system would have aided in tracking the plane and providing vital information.
The recently secured funding will sustain Skykraft until the deployment of its full satellite constellation and the generation of revenue from clients. However, Dr. Frater expressed openness to further external investments, potentially reaching an additional $10 million. Main Sequence partner Martin Duursma believes that Skykraft’s expertise in satellite constellations will enable them to revolutionize aviation communications infrastructure and address surveillance and communication gaps in the industry.
– “Skykraft lifts off $120m for aviation vision” – The Australian Financial Review
– “Space specialist Skykraft secures $120m to fund satellite vision” – Paris Sky
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