Australian Space Taxi Can Detect Bushfires Within 3 Minutes

March 1, 2021 Updated: March 9, 2021

Three Australian space companies have united to launch a bushfire satellite into space inside a space taxi with the key mission to detect and track bushfires. The technology, which is the work of Queensland-based company Fireball International, can detect and report on bushfires less than three minutes after they start.

It provides automated bushfire detection and tracking by analysing images from sensors in real-time and sends notifications and maps to emergency responders after detecting a fire.

“This is an Australian-built taxi, which will bring an Australian-built satellite which looks for fires and has a national interest, which is launched by an Australian-built rocket and from an Australian spaceport in Queensland,” Fireball International chief executive Christoper Tylor told InnovationAus.

Epoch Times Photo
Fire crews control bush fires as they approach properties on Copley Road in Upper Swan on February 02, 2021, in Perth, Australia. (Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Fireball currently relies on Japanese satellites launched by the Japan Space Agency to monitor bushfires in Australia.

Australian companies Space Machines Company (SMC) and Gilmore Space Technologies have also joined up to provide the rockets for the mission, which will launch the satellite into space in 2022.

“We are proud to enable this vital and pioneering Australian space technology deployment,” SMC founder and chief executive Rajat Kulshrestha told AAP.

“Space technology has vital real-world applications, and it’s important for Australia as a country to build and own the technology that allows us to explore the possibilities space offers.”

Australia Needs Its Own National Space Capability

CSIRO recently painted why Australia needs its own space capability, saying that access to timely data would be only possible if the country owned its own satellites.

“For flooding, drought disasters, timely information is everything,” CSIRO executive director of digital, national facilities and collections David Williams said.

“To have real-time access to data, you’ve got to have a very good relationship with another country, or you’ve got to own a satellite.”

Williams said Australia also has an advantage in the market because it lacks the ‘baggage’ its international counterparts currently have.

“Having that lack of baggage, we can go straight to market, rather than this big development chain … the world has really moved on in space, and it’s at a transition point for Australia to really take advantage of it,” Williams said.