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.”

A NASA Engineer Made Teleworking In Light Of The Oil Emergency

In the midst of the energy crisis and the high rise in prices , we find ourselves in the need to look to the past and look for those methods that made us stay afloat. Strategies linked to the habits that helped contain spending and improve the economy and that today would give us a boost to face this dizzying moment.

In this context, there are two contemporary trends that are part of the current collective debate: teleworking , as a product of the Covid-19 pandemic; and the energy problem , due to lack of supplies of all types of fuel generated by the war between Russia and Ukraine.

What might these trends have in common? Both, and without so many warnings, had a historical milestone in 1973 that made them accomplices during the Yom Kippur War, which brought with it one of the biggest economic and energy crises in the world.

The person responsible for the symbiosis of both trends 40 years ago, NASA engineer Jack Nilles . He was the one who used the concept of teleworking (coined by himself) as a response and economic strategy to the fuel shortage that occurred in the United States in 1973, as a result of the oil embargo of Arab exporters.

Given the bleak energy scenario of the time, Nilles wanted to contribute with his experience. It was then that he analyzed how companies could save money during the oil crisis in the North American country. Thus he raised the idea of ​​”bringing the work to the worker” and not vice versa. With that you could “reduce” the use of the car and fuel.

Hybrid work experiment
“Usually people in Los Angeles drive to work at an office, somewhere downtown, but what if workers didn’t need to get in their cars to get to work?” Niles asked. “Working from home could replace the need to travel.” And so began the world’s first large-scale experiment in the hybrid work format .

Along these lines, in his study called Telecommunications-Transportation Tradeoff (1976) he argues that “if one in seven workers did not have to travel to their workplace, the United States would not have the need to import oil”, which became a strategy to face the energy crisis of the moment.

Telecommuting concept
With the aforementioned, he devised the concept of “telecommuting”, with which transportation and pollution problems were reduced , in addition, by applying this new trend, the quality of life of workers and their productivity improved. In this way, the engineer called the concept “part-time telecommuting”, which mixed remote work days with office days.

” I helped NASA put a man on the moon , so why couldn’t I do something about the horrible crisis problem?” said Jack Nilles, now 89.

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).