Business of Space: Can the relationship with Roscosmos ever be repaired?
- Isotropic Systems on track for first commercial launches
- Space cooperation between Russia and Europe “destroyed”
- OneWeb goes on deal-making spree
Satellite firm Isotropic Systems is on track for its first commercial launches this year, following the final successful round of testing its multi-link satellite tech.
The ground terminal provider has developed technology which allows users to connect to multiple satellites at once – tech which has been snapped up by the US military.
It had previously only been possible to connect to just one satellite at a time.
The finals with the US Army were part of the US Air Force’s innovative Defence Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI) program and sought to demonstrate the terminal’s abilities to maintain connectivity under challenging Military conditions.
“With thousands of satellite constellations launching in the coming years, our technology is critical to unlocking the full benefits of the enhanced broadband connectivity,” CEO John Finney explained.
“We have completed various rigorous tests on the defence front by demonstrating our multi-beam and orbit capabilities with the US Army and have also demonstrated unique multi-orbit connectivity alongside Telesat, SES and others.”
Separate tests with Canadian satellite communications firm Telesat and the US’ Senior Executive Service (SES) confirmed the terminals’ were effective across all satellite orbits – with both civil and commercial applications.
“We are thrilled to provide the unprecedented capability of meshing networks without comprising efficiency, preparing ourselves for our product launch later this year,” added Finney, though the company has not yet disclosed an official date.
While militaristic appeal has boosted investment in the sector, the conflict in Europe has caused a growing rift between global players in the space industry.
The head of Russia’s space agency said on Thursday there was no coming back for space-cooperation with Europe, and rockets that were initially meant to launch European satellites would instead be used for Russian companies – or those friendly to Moscow.
Speaking in a interview to Chinese broadcasters, Roscosmos director Dmitry Rogozin said that European satellites had been booted from around 10 rockets.
UK government-backed satellite heavyweight OneWeb on Monday announced that it had struck a deal with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to ferry its satellites into orbit.
The decision followed it cancelling the launch of 36 satellites from a Russian Soyuz rocket via its Baikonur site at the beginning of the month, after Russia outlined a string of demands for OneWeb.
“At this moment, after the European Space Agency and the whole European Union have taken a frenzied position on the conduct of [Russia’s] special military operation in Ukraine and introduced sanctions against Roscosmos, we consider further cooperation impossible,” Rogozin said.
Rogozin, who has previously threatened the safety of the International Space Station, added that the relationship could only be repaired once reflected on “what they’ve destroyed with their own hands”.
And when OneWeb isn’t navigating an international space-spat, it is inking a string of deals to strengthen its distribution network, capacity and Teleport services.
The taxpayer-funded firm has cut a multi-year deal with Paris-listed Eutelsat Communications to commercialise OneWeb services across maritime, aviation, telcos and government.
The CEO of Eutelsat, which became OneWeb’s second largest shareholder in December, explained that the company will promote OneWeb’s connectivity services when offering solutions to its clients.
“This deal showcases the scope for synergies between our two companies and opens up the potential of low orbit to complement our geostationary assets in the fast-growing markets of aero and maritime mobility, fixed data and government services, building on the development of 5G and cloud technologies that will generate low latency requirements,” CEO Eva Berneke added.
Meanwhile, OneWeb has also announced an agreement with Kymeta, a company which makes flat panel antennas, to further bolster its distribution.
Similarly to the deal with Eutelsat, Kymeta’s existing broadband geostationary orbit (GEO) and 4G cellular service offering is anticipated to chime with OneWeb’s connectivity.
And in OneWeb’s third deal of this week, the satellite giant has entered a decade-long partnership with Melbourne-based Telstra, which has been building and maintaining three new teleports in Australia.
The teleports, bases to link up to satellites, are due to be completed later this year – with the first going live in July.