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Satellite Communications Technology

KSAT's new business unit dedicated to small satellites

(6 August 2018 - KSAT) Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT), the world-leading provider of spacecraft communications services, announces that it has created a new business unit fully dedicated to providing agile and innovative ground station services for the New Space sector.

The business unit, called KSATLite, will be run as an internal incubator and operational support center for upcoming small satellite constellations and newly emerging launch vehicles. The goal of the KSATLite business unit is to provide ground communication services at a leaner price point. This cost-efficiency is enabled through gains in standardization, which allow many missions to be shared on a common infrastructure of support, which can easily be scaled to grow the network alongside industry need.

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Kristian Jenssen, Director of KSATLite, the new business unit at KSAT dedicated to Small Satellites (courtesy: benediktloebell.com)

As part of the creation of the business unit, KSAT is proud to announce the promotion of Kristian Jenssen, who will be leading this new unit. “Kristian is an incredibly hard-working leader who is committed to the New Space industry, and helping it grow,” says KSAT President and CEO, Rolf Skatteboe. “As an experienced aerospace engineer, Kristian brings a very technical approach to working directly with customers to provide a scaled and efficient communications solution. I have every confidence that this new business unit will become a growth sector for KSAT, and we look forward to supporting new missions with a more dedicated approach.”

The success of the KSATLite network has proven that there is a real need in the industry for a dedicated ground solution that is easy to use and available at a lower cost basis. “One major benefit of the KSATLite network is that it is live today – supporting over 10,000 passes a month – which enables new missions to receive support instantly, without incurring any risk of delay that might occur for systems that are untested or may require more modification to enable interoperability. With KSATLite we have used a very flexible software-defined ground radio system that allows us to support all of the major standards in satellite and launch vehicle communications. We also utilize a software-optimized scheduling system to enable us to support many different missions, which in sharing the basic infrastructure costs among more users, allows each mission to receive support at a much more affordable pricing structure,” notes Kristian Jenssen.

Building on the foundation of expertise that KSAT has acquired through over fifty years of ground station service operations, KSATLite is able to leverage many of the key strengths of the existing infrastructure. For example, all KSATLite sites are compliant with government standards of security, requiring a high-degree of physical security and information assurance.

The KSATLite business unit will also continue to support new missions in obtaining ground station licenses at each location of operations, enabling customers to avoid learning new regulatory processes. “With strong relationships with each of our regulatory partners, we are able to help guide our customers through the processes, enabling efficient and clear paths toward licensing,” says Jenssen. Combined with the strength of the operations excellence that enables KSAT to support hundreds of spacecraft every day, KSATLite brings an innovative approach to sharing standardized hardware via software scheduling that enables a revolutionary breakthrough in access.'

“KSATLite focuses on end-to-end services. It is one thing to build ground stations,” Skatteboe says, “but to provide dependable end-to-end services where data is reliably delivered is something else. Here KSATLite has an unprecedented positon.”

The creation of the KSATLite business unit will enable the team to further build upon success and provide even more dedicated support to the New Space market segment. “We have been very pleased with the positive reception of customers currently using the KSATLite network, and are eager to keep pace with the increasing demand for this type of innovative and flexible support,” says Skatteboe.