The Holmes Imager, a telescopic camera made by HEO Robotics for collecting data from satellites in orbit, has been launched aboard a SpaceX rocket.
In a statement on Tuesday morning, the Sydney-based company said Holmes was “the world’s first commercial camera dedicated to non-Earth imaging” and made entirely within Australia.
HEO praised its collaborative partners and called the camera “testament to Australia’s technological prowess and strong supply chain”, citing Additive Engineering, The Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF), The Australian National University, Emax Engineering, Infinity Avionics, and Ironbox Engineering for their work on the project.
“We are thrilled to put an Australian manufactured camera in space and continue on our mission of making space transparent,” said HEO co-founder and CEO, Dr William Crowe, in a statement.
“We need high-quality data to make evidence-based decisions.”
And it’s off! 🚀
Our Holmes Imager has successfully made its way to space and deployed from the Falcon 9 rocket. Stay tuned for Holmes’ first image release!
— HEO Robotics (@heorobotics) June 13, 2023
It said Holmes would enable “great clarity and accuracy” in interpreting space objects.
“We believe the launch of Holmes Imager is a great milestone for the Australian space industry and we are excited to see the results,” added Damith Abeywardana, Co-founder and Managing Director at Infinity Avionics.
HEO’s core business is in collecting intelligence about space assets and their surroundings — using other organisations’ cameras to gather this — and it is the first company in the world to offer satellite inspections.
HEO’s software platform HEO Inspect was launched commercially in August last year.
Holmes was launched at 7.35 am AET, said the company, flying aboard a Droid-1 satellite made by Californian company Turion Space.
The recent move into manufacturing was discussed by Crowe and co-founder Dr Hiranya Jayakody in an episode of the @AuManufacturing Conversations podcast that aired in September last year.
At the time the pair said they were building their cameras at their Sydney CBD office, and had just secured a factory in Botany for the purpose.