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Indigenous Companies Open Viasat Ground Station in Central Australia

By | July 1, 2020

Photo: Ekistica Ltd.

Viasat Inc. and Indigenous companies in Australia’s Northern Territory have opened a ground station facility in Alice Springs. The facility was built, project-managed, and owned by Indigenous companies, the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfAT) and its subsidiaries Ekistica Ltd. and CfAT Satellite Enterprises, in partnership with Indigenous Business Australia (IBA). 

The Viasat Real-Time Earth (RTE) ground station provides Ground-Station-as-a-Service (GSaaS) to the Earth Observation (EO) and remote sensing community. Viasat said in a Tuesday announcement that this service offers affordability and reduced latency through automation and geographic diversity on a pay-per-use basis.

According to CfAT, this investment in Alice Springs will enable Central Australia to be a key player in the global satellite and space industry, and allow Indigenous Australians to be leading participants. CfAT CEO Peter Renehan said the ground station has benefited Indigenous people, as local Aboriginal workers who developed new skills assembled the two 7.3 m antennas, and two wholly-owned Aboriginal companies were hired during the construction phase. 

 “It is a huge achievement for CfAT to have built this amazing Viasat RTE facility. Working with great support from our partners Viasat and IBA, we have demonstrated that CfAT can continue to contribute positively to technology and critical space advancements, which will benefit Indigenous people and communities in outback Australia, as well as the broader Australian economy,” Renehan said. 

IBA CEO Rajiv Viswanathan called the facility a “nationally significant infrastructure development which will help to completely transform the geospatial analytics and Earth Observation industries in Australia.”