July 26, 2023
HEO Robotics has partnered with Australian in-space transportation provider Space Machines Company (SMC) to launch an on-orbit inspection camera in 2022. The camera, named “Potoroo”, is specifically designed to gather enhanced space situational awareness (SSA) data in LEO. The camera payload will be hosted onboard SMC’s Optimus-1 Space Transporter, of which the primary objective is to deploy customer satellites at specific orbits. The mission allows HEO Robotics to operate Potoroo at different altitudes and in proximity to several ‘busy’ LEO orbits, and produce data at an unprecedented quality.
HEO Robotics currently utilizes 15 Earth observation satellites to image space objects and provide insights. The launch of Potoroo aims to further improve HEO Robotics’s LEO coverage and accelerate the time from tasking to insight generation. With exclusive access to the camera, HEO Robotics aims to cut-down the time between tasking and receiving data to as little as an hour.
HEO Robotics CEO William Crowe added, “Potoroo is a crucial step towards building out our orbital camera network that advances both space situational awareness and the ability to react quickly to space debris creation events. Tens of thousands of satellites are planned for launch over the next several years, so it’s essential that Australia has its own sovereign satellite capabilities like these, to fully inform our decision makers.”
Commenting on the partnership, SMC's founder and CEO Rajat Kulshrestha said, “We are delighted to be enabling this pioneering Australian space technology deployment. Being an Australian manufactured, launched and operated mission is a further testament to our country’s growing sovereign capability in space technology. Advances in space research have the potential to unlock huge advancements in terms of security, defence and safety. The inclusion of Potoroo to our Optimus-1 launch is a critical step on that journey, for the situational awareness of space exploration, reporting capabilities here at home and for Australia’s achievements in the industry.”
More details on payload specifications will be released soon.
Read AFR's article on the mission here .