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Surrey Satellite, BridgeSat to Develop Satellite Communications

Photonics.com
Apr 2016
ENGLEWOOD, Colo., April 18, 2016 — Surrey Satellite Technology U.S. LLC and BridgeSat Inc. have announced a partnership to develop a free-space optical communications system for secure data downlinks from satellites to a proprietary ground network at faster speeds than equivalent radio frequency solutions.

Under this partnership, Surrey will build the flight laser terminal units that will communicate with BridgeSat’s global ground network. The companies aim to provide users with a “one-stop” solution to transmit data at up to 10 Gbps per link.

“We have a unique opportunity to bring a more accessible, faster optical solution to the smallsat [small satellite] market at a lower cost,” said Clare Martin, vice president of programs for Surrey. “With each unit at a mass of 1.5 kg or less and power under 25 W, we see this solution as a game changer for eliminating data downlink constraints for the commercial satellite community.”

Surrey’s optical communications terminal will be equipped with a standardized interface, allowing the terminals to be used on either Surrey’s satellites or as flight units for other satellite providers. The data transmission system is expected to have a lower cost and more efficient mass/power performance compared to traditional radio frequency solutions due to forward error correction and a smart module to achieve pointing accuracy.

“We are excited to partner with Surrey, a recognized leader in innovative and affordable small satellite solutions, as our system’s expansive data downlink capacity will potentially enable the space industry to grow exponentially,” said John Serafini, BridgeSat’s co-general manager and senior vice president at parent company Allied Minds.

The companies expect the optical communication system to be operational within the next two years.

Surrey Satellite is a provider of full mission solutions through advancements in small satellite technology, applications and services. BridgeSat is a designer of optical connectivity system to improve wireless transfer data between satellites.


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