ESA Helps Start-ups Reach for the Stars

PARIS (ESA PR) — Four entrepreneurial small companies have won the chance to learn from senior figures at ESA and satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space, following an ESA-backed competition.

ESA is boosting the commercialisation of space by helping entrepreneurs to gain access to large manufacturers and to share expertise.

Representatives from nine start-up companies pitched their space-based ideas to the manufacturer during a recent event. They received one-to-one expert feedback on becoming a partner, supplier or client to Thales Alenia Space.

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Mynaric Selected by Northrop Grumman as Strategic Supplier for Laser Communication

LOS ANGELES, 1 November 2021 (Mynaric PR) – Mynaric has signed a multi-year, strategic agreement with Northrop Grumman that identifies the company as a strategic supplier for laser communications in the space domain.

“The U.S. government is the driving force to deploy laser communication capabilities in space,” said Bulent Altan, CEO of Mynaric. “We are happy to have been selected as a strategic supplier by Northrop Grumman to pursue ongoing and upcoming programs in this important market segment and look forward to jointly providing secure and broadband communication to serve the U.S. government’s needs for distributed communication architectures.”

Earlier this year Mynaric submitted bids with a combined value in the mid-double digit million USD range to Northrop Grumman in the framework of multiple government space programs that are still pending contract awards by the U.S. government. Separately, Northrop Grumman will issue a purchase order for a set of CONDOR Mk3 terminals to kick-start the new relationship.

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Mynaric and H3 HATS Detail Successes with World’s First Industrialized Optical Communications Terminal for Airborne Applications

Optical communications terminal on H3 HATS aircraft. (Credit: Mynaric)

MUNICH (Mynaric PR) — Mynaric and H3 HATS today announced the successful start of a joint demonstration campaign to showcase laser communication capabilities for high-altitude long endurance aircraft using industrialized optical communications terminals. Initial flights of the campaign demonstrated key performance criteria of Mynaric’s HAWK product currently in pre-series production onboard one of H3 HATS’ aircraft. Where previous tests of this nature have used one-off prototypes or technology demonstrators, today’s announcement marks the world’s first demonstration of an industrialized optical communications terminal for airborne applications.

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Ministry of Defence Makes £9.5 Million Investment for Military Space Communications

LONDON (Ministry of Defence PR) — The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) have awarded a £9.5 million [US $13.1 million] contract to In-Space Missions Ltd for the build of the Titania satellite, which will undertake vital research on the next-generation of communications technology.

To be launched in 2023 and approximately the size of a washing machine, the satellite will support the ‘Titania Operational Concept Demonstrator’ which is exploring the military utility of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) direct-to-earth free-space optical communications (FSOC).

As modern battlespace technology requires increasingly high bandwidth, FSOC has the potential to transform military communications with its ability to transfer large volumes of data, with a low risk of detection or interception.

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Mynaric Signs Multi-Million Dollar Deal with SpaceLink

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 12, 2021 (Mynaric PR) — Mynaric and SpaceLink today announced the signature of a definitive agreement on the sale of optical inter-satellite link (OISL) terminals for satellites in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) with a total order volume of up to $28 million depending on exercised options and SpaceLink’s satellite prime selection. Mynaric expects to ship SpaceLink’s first units during the first quarter of 2023. The deal includes mutually agreed upon milestone payments leading up to initial delivery.

“The final details of this agreement are just the beginning of a strategic partnership designed to bring fast, highly secure and continuous communications between spacecraft and the ground. Our industrialized approach to production will allow us to meet the expanded needs as SpaceLink’s constellation grows,” said Tina Ghataore, President, Mynaric USA and Chief Commercial Officer, Mynaric.

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General Atomics Partners with Space Development Agency to Conduct Space-to-Air Optical Communication Experiment

Laser Interconnect and Networking Communication System (LINCS) CubeSats. (Credit: General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems)

SAN DIEGO, 02 JUNE 2021 (GA-EMS PR) – General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that it was awarded a contract by the Space Development Agency to demonstrate space-to-air optical communication using GA-EMS’ Laser Interconnect and Networking Communication System (LINCS) and a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper®. This contract is in conjunction with an upcoming experiment where GA-EMS and SDA are partnering to launch the LINCS system and conduct a series of experiments demonstrating space-based optical communication starting later this summer.

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NASA Space Operations Budget Request Fact Sheet

The SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle begins its separation from the station after undocking from the Harmony module’s international docking adapter. (Credit: NASA TV)

NASA FACT SHEET
FY 2022 Budget Request
Space Operations
($ Millions)

The FY 2022 Budget for the Space Operations account consists of four areas: International Space Station (ISS), Space Transportation, Space and Flight Support (SFS), and Commercial LEO Development.

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DLR Laser Terminal in Space Makes Contact with Japanese Ground Station

The flying laptop satellite of the University of Stuttgart. (Credit: University of Stuttgart)
  • For the first time, a signal from the DLR terminal OSIRISv1 was received on a NICT ground station in Japan.
  • OSIRISv1 was developed by the DLR Institute for Communication and Navigation and launched in 2017 on the “Flying Laptop” satellite in cooperation with the Institute for Space Systems (IRS) at the University of Stuttgart.
  • Optical communication systems that use laser beams for data transmission make it possible to significantly increase the data rates between satellites and ground stations.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The resolution of cameras and other sensors on earth observation satellites is increasing steadily. This leads to ever-increasing amounts of data that are still transmitted to earth using radio systems today. The data connection between the satellite and the earth limits the capabilities of the systems.  With optical communication systems that use laser beams for data transmission, a significant increase in data rates is possible. Numerous images can be transmitted with high resolution. 

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SSC & Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands to Collaborate in Optical Communication

Laser satellite (Credit: Swedish Space Corporation)

SOLNA, Sweden (SSC PR) — Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands (Airbus DS NL) have signed an MOU for collaborative activities regarding ground equipment for space-to-ground optical communication. The agreement will accelerate the development of commercially viable optical ground stations that will be offered by Airbus DS NL and used by SSC in delivering ground network services.

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Pioneering Start: PIXL-1 Small Satellite with the World’s Smallest Laser Terminal in Orbit

CubeSat with laser terminal. (Credit: DLR CC-BY 3.0)
  • The PIXL-1 small satellite was successfully launched on January 24, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. CEST, with the OSIRIS4CubeSat / CubeLCT laser terminal on board
  • The aim of the mission is to test optical communication systems for small satellites, to develop them further until they are ready for the market and to provide a reference system for a new communication standard
  • Technology transfer: The development was carried out on behalf of the German industrial partner Tesat-Spacecom (TESAT), who will produce the laser terminal in series

OBERPFAFFENHOFEN, Germany (DLR PR) — The PIXL-1 small satellite was successfully launched into orbit on January 24, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. CEST from the US spaceport Cape Canaveral with a Falcon-9 launcher from the US company SpaceX. The smallest laser transmission terminal in the world is on board the satellite: “OSIRIS4CubeSat” enables data transmission up to a hundred times faster than conventional radio links and was developed by scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in close cooperation with the German telecommunications company TESAT based in Backnang near Stuttgart. It provides an important platform for investigating scientific questions. The laser terminal is designed for series production and is sold by TESAT under the name “CubeLCT.” In this way, new value chains are being created in Germany as a business location.

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Emxys Raises €2 Million in Venture Funding to Develop ODALISS

  • Emxys, a space technology company, has raised €2 million in funding.
  • The round was led by Mundi Ventures with participation from CDTI.
  • Financing from the round will be used to develop the ODALISS project, an innovative platform for small satellites with laser communications.

ALICANTE, Spain – Emxys (Embedded Instruments & Systems), a Spanish company based in Alicante, has closed a €2 million [US $2.35 million] funding round led by Mundi Ventures and with participation from CDTI. Vinca Capital served as financial advisor and Gesem served as legal advisor to Emxys in the transaction.

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Airbus, Xenesis Sign Payload Contract for New ISS Bartolomeo Platform

Bartolomeo with laser (Credit: Airbus)

Xenesis to space-test optical communication terminal aboard Airbus facility on ISS

HOUSTON, 05 May 2020 (Airbus/Xenesis PR) – Airbus and Xenesis have signed a contract for a payload slot on the International Space Station (ISS) Bartolomeo platform for the demonstration of their Xen-Hub optical communication space terminal.

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French Optical Communications Company Raises €8 Million

RENNES, France, October 3, 2019 (Cailabs PR) – French deep-tech company Cailabs wrapped up a new € 8 million [$8.8 million] fundraising campaign led by Supernova Invest with the participation of Definvest, the Ministry of the Armed Forces fund managed by Bpifrance ; Safran Corporate Ventures, lead investor in 2017; as well as Innovacom and Starquest Capital, its long-standing investors. With this funding, Cailabs has the necessary resources to rapidly develop its three main product lines at both an industrial and commercial level.

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DLR Researchers Set World Record in Free-space Optical Communications

Optical communications setup (Credit: DLR)
Optical communications setup (Credit: DLR)

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have set a new record in data transmission using laser: 1.72 terabits per second across a distance of 10.45 kilometres, which is equivalent to the transmission of 45 DVDs per second. This means that large parts of the still under-served rural areas in Western Europe could be supplied with broadband Internet services.

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