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March 8, 2024

CEO Reflections: International Women’s Day

By: Co-Founder & CEO, Flavia Tata Nardini

All of humanity stands on the shoulders of the explorers that came before them. Explorers, from all walks of life, have changed the trajectory of history through technological innovation, social change, and sheer determination to build a better world for future generations. When I take a step back to consider the profound impact that women have made on shaping the world we live in today – I feel a deep connection to the long line of explorers that came before us, who braved the unknown and shared their learnings so that we can continue in their footsteps. At Fleet Space, I feel a deep responsibility to our predecessors and those who will come after us to build a company that can light the way for young explorers to reach further than they knew was possible.

I reflect daily on the profound resilience of women around the world manifesting in people like Marie Curie, Mae Jemison, and Malala Yousafzai - their indomitable force of spirit pushing the boundaries of science, space exploration, and the fight for women’s education against a historical tide of bigotry and sexism. On a daily basis, the bravery, persistence, and determination of women around the world is bending the arc of our future toward greatness. My aim is for our work at Fleet Space to be an enabler of the brighter future we hope to build.

When I came to Australia with dreams of building a space exploration start-up eight years ago, I was met with a lot of skepticism at first. At the time, there wasn’t any space industry in Australia which, in the minds of many, led them to believe our endeavor was doomed to failure. Who, after all, is this aerospace engineer from Italy and what makes her think she can help us build a thriving Australian space industry? Fast forward eight years, I look back on launching Australia’s first LEO satellite constellation, sending our technology to the Moon, building the world’s first vertically integrated space-enabled mineral exploration technology, and becoming Australia’s fastest growing company and see proof that the world can be transformed when big dreams and preparation meet opportunity.

The world needs more explorers of diverse backgrounds, education, and life experiences. As a leader, I’m constantly asking myself how we can prepare and inspire the next generation of explorers to take on the most pressing challenges facing humanity’s future. STEM education is truly the foundation for unlocking the potential of all people and that is why we invest so heavily in engaging with students at every level to spark an interest in the beauty of space, engineering, and geophysics. For example, we recently completed a student competition to have one of their designs 3D printed on our lunar seismic device, SPIDER, which is heading to the Moon as part of a NASA program in 2026. Imagine the impact that early STEM exposure combined with an opportunity to have a share in a historical moment can do for a developing mind.

As a leader, I’ve seen the fundamental importance and impact of thoughtfully embedding the purpose of your company into every level of the business as you are building it. I’m a huge believer in the power of clear purpose. Clarity on what a company exists to accomplish is a tremendous motivator that not only pushes us forward but also pulls everyone in the same direction. Our vision is to create technologies that empower humanity to explore, connect, and unlock a prosperous future for humanity on Earth and beyond. In order to achieve that vision of the future the collective ingenuity of Earth must focus on delivering innovation that can accelerate our planet’s transition to renewable energy. Achieving net-zero is impossible without a major increase in the volume of critical minerals worldwide. That’s why we built our space-enabled mineral exploration technology, ExoSphere - to demonstrate a more sustainable and scalable path to accelerate the mineral discovery needed for global adoption of clean energy technologies.

The ‘why’ behind our ExoSphere technology has been the driver of Fleet Space’s exponential growth over the past year. Rapid global adoption of ExoSphere by leading exploration companies around the world propelled our heavily oversubscribed A$50M Series C - doubling our valuation to A$350M - and to Fleet Space becoming Australia’s fastest growing company. Looking at our growth over the last year is extremely validating – but the long and hard journey of trial and error, iteration, and overcoming challenges is what made us into the company we are today. What sustained us during the hard times is what ultimately led to our success - the tenacious pursuit of our vision through iteration and learning. Whether it’s creating technologies to accelerate exploration on Earth with ExoSphere or on the Moon with SPIDER – our happy place is the frontier, above and below us.

Our journey, like the women striving around the world in all walks of life, is ultimately one of continuous exploration, pushing boundaries, innovating, and applying rigorous pragmatism to find solutions that can create a better tomorrow. When we wake up in the morning we face a landscape of possibilities, and since the beginning, women have always faced them with resilience, hope, and courage. Humanity has a long way to go, but together I believe the path to saving our planet and exploring other worlds will be paved by the enterprising spirit of women, just like those that came before.

We are Explorers. The future depends on us. Ad Astra!

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