As part of a historic US government program, Mynaric serves as Northrop Grumman’s sole laser communication supplier

Mynaric is a pioneer in the laser communications industry, developing optical communications terminals for space, air, and mobile applications. For wireless terrestrial, mobile, airborne, and space-based applications, laser communication networks enable connectivity from the sky, enabling ultra-high data speeds and safe, long-distance data transfer between moving devices.

Northrop Grumman chose Mynaric to deliver CONDOR Mk3 optical communication terminals as portion of a major US government program. The Space Development Agency (SDA) has chosen Northrop Grumman to offer 42 satellites meant for the Tranche 1 Transport Layer solution, which will meet the vital requirements of the US NDSA (National Defense Space Architecture). Mynaric will be the sole provider of optical communications terminals meant for Northrop Grumman under the terms of the $36 million agreement, which was unveiled on March 21 of 2022. Product deliveries are expected to take place mostly in 2023 as well as 2024. Northrop Grumman said today that it had successfully demonstrated a robust, networked laser communication network for proliferated-LEO constellations employing Mynaric’s optical communications terminals in this context.

The arrangement is the biggest optical communications terminals order made with Mynaric specifically and publicized in the government market in general, confirming the industry’s trajectory of procuring and deploying industrialized laser communications programs at a fast-expanding scale. Since its foundation, Mynaric has concentrated on developing technologies and manufacturing capabilities that enable large-scale optical communications terminals deployment and has invested extensively in scalable manufacturing and market-leading products in recent years.

“We congratulate Northrop Grumman on winning this significant program bringing advanced capabilities to the US government, successfully demonstrating initial capabilities, and paving the road for federal customers to leverage commercial supply chains now and in the future,” stated Mynaric CEO Bulent Altan. “We are honored to have been chosen by Northrop Grumman to supply them with our sophisticated products, and I want to express my gratitude to the whole Mynaric team for their tremendous efforts in making this possible. This historic government purchase of optical communication terminals demonstrates that we have fully entered the industrial era of laser communications.”

“We are ecstatic to have been chosen by Northrop Grumman for this vital technology for the Transport Layer Tranche 1 mission of SDA requirements,” stated Tina Ghataore, CCO of Mynaric. “Our CONDOR Mk3 optical communication terminal is the ideal solution for the SDA’s widely deployed LEO network. Our staff continues to improve our goods, and as a company, we invest ahead of market demand to ensure that we are well-positioned to serve our expanding customer base.”

After a SpaceX launch, Egypt’s Nilesat 301 meets health inspections

With the launch of NileSat 101 in 1998, Egypt was the first Arab nation to deploy a communications satellite into space. Nilesat 102, which transmitted hundreds of satellite TV channels, followed in 2000.

Egypt launched EgyptSat 1, the country’s first remote-sensing satellite, in 2007. It was built by Egypt’s NARSS (National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences) and Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye State Design Office.

EgyptSat2, Egypt’s second remote sensing satellite, was launched in April 2014 but lost in space in February of 2015. Egypt replaced it with EgyptSat A four years later, after deploying it from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome, a leased spaceport in Kazakhstan. Egypt created the Egyptian Space Agency in August 2019 as a public economic agency with legal status under the president’s control.

The agency’s mission is to develop, transfer, and own space technology development, localization, and self-capabilities for building and launching satellites from Egyptian soil. After twice postponing the launch owing to technical issues, Egypt successfully deployed the telecommunications satellite Tiba 1 into space in 2019. Egypt has continued to investigate the benefits of space travel.

According to the spacecraft’s primary contractor, NileSat’s newest communications satellite is prepared to proceed to its last orbit after passing health assessments after its 8th June SpaceX launch. According to Sandrine Bielecki, a representative for Franco-Italian maker Thales Alenia Space, the nearly 4,000-kilogram Nilesat 301 satellite is going to utilize onboard chemical propulsion to begin its voyage within the next few days.

Nilesat 301 will most likely take roughly a month to enter its geostationary orbit (GEO) slot at 7 degrees west, conduct more tests, and then begin commercial operations to increase Nilesat’s African coverage. At 5:04 p.m. Eastern on June 9, SpaceX launched Nilesat 301 into geosynchronous transfer orbit (GEO) with a Falcon 9 launch vehicle from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The rocket’s first stage landed successfully on SpaceX’s drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean shortly after launch, making it the 116th time the firm has successfully landed the first stage. Six previous SpaceX launches used the rocket, including two flights to the ISS (International Space Station) and GPS and Starlink broadband satellites.

Nilesat 301, which is based on Thales Alenia Space’s Spacebus 4000-B2 platform, is equipped with Ku-band transponders for television broadcasting as well as Ka-band capability for internet services. The satellite will ultimately substitute the Thales Alenia Space-created Nilesat 201, which is going to exhaust fuel in 2028 after its 2010 launch, according to the Egyptian business.

Nilesat 301 expands Nilesat’s reach into emerging markets in southern Africa as well as the Nile River basin, in addition to the MENA areas that Nilesat already covers with Nilesat 201 as well as other satellites it leases.

Nilesat 301, according to Nilesat, complements connectivity services offered by Tiba 1, Egypt’s first satellite, which launched in 2019.

Sony has started a business in space laser communications

At Sony Computer Science Laboratories, the Sony Group has been in the process of conducting research and creating the optical communications systems to allow high-speed data transfers over great distances in a manner that can be installed on microsatellites. Sony Group aspires to produce lightweight, ultra-compact, mass-producible optical communications systems that can resist hostile environments such as space by employing optical disc technology that it has developed over several years in the creation and manufacture of CD players as well as other products.

In 2020, in conjunction with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency commonly referred as JAXA) , Small Optical Link for International Space Station (SOLISS) was deployed in the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” of the ISS (International Space Station). It created a laser communications link that is bidirectional with the Japanese NICT’s (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology) space optical communication ground station and successfully communicated high-definition image data using Ethernet protocols. This experimental gadget managed to create optical downlinks from the space to a commercial optical ground station of KSAT (Kongsberg Satellite Services) based in Greece in 2021.

A test on complete data file transmission in a modeled error-prone communications setting, that is going to be the technological foundation for Internet services via stratospheric and low-Earth orbit (LEO) optical communications, was conducted successfully in 2022 in conjunction with JAXA.

Sony has established a firm to create laser communication systems for small satellites, based on the optical disc technology which it innovated for CD players as well as other products. Sony Space Communications (SSC) was established on June 2 in San Mateo, California, to assist enterprises in avoiding radio wave shortages as the number of satellites in LEO (low Earth orbit) grows.

SSC intends to design, produce, and supply technologies that are going to allow small satellites to interact with the ground stations — and each other in real-time — by using laser beams rather than radio frequencies. According to Kyohei Iwamoto, who is the SSC president, the amount of data utilized in LEO grows every year, although the radio waves amount available is restricted.

“Additionally, the necessity for radio frequency licensing and the necessity for lower power usage of communication equipment required by smaller satellites, such as microsatellites, are both challenges that must be addressed,” he added.

According to Sony, traditional radio communications require larger satellite antennas and higher power than optical networks, making fast speeds on small satellites “physically challenging.” Sony claims to be working on optical communications systems tiny enough to fit in microsatellites, which NASA describes as spacecraft weighing between 10 and 100 kg.

The firm did not disclose when its devices would be ready or whether it had any consumers waiting for them. SSC intends to use its optical disc technology to produce lightweight, mass-producible and ultra-compact satellite communication systems that can resist harsh space conditions. Sony said in 2020 that an optical communications gadget it co-developed with Japan’s space agency had been deployed on Kibo, which is the Japanese experimental module on the ISS (International Space Station).