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Satellite Communications Technology

Astrocast and KSAT sign new partnership to leverage the KSATlite ground network for faster constellation growth

(4 August 2020 - KSAT) Astrocast and Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) announced today the signing of a new partnership agreement to utilize the integral flexibility of the KSATlite ground network as a relay for the Astrocast IoT Nanosatellite Network.

Astrocast and KSAT have been working together for more than two years on the Astrocast Network’s precursor and In-Orbit-Demonstration missions. Astrocast will make use of the scalable ground network offered by KSAT which is optimized for large constellations of small satellites. This partnership signifies a new phase as Astrocast prepares for commercial availability at the end of 2020.

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KSAT Svalbard ground station (courtesy: Reuben Wu)

“Thanks to the in-orbit demonstration mission with KSAT, our team is now ready to start commercial operations with the launch and operation of our next five commercial satellites later this year,” said Federico Belloni, CTO of Astrocast. “These new satellites are a game changing technology in the direct-to-satellite IoT industry.”

The current KSAT and Astrocast collaboration at the Svalbard ground station has demonstrated the importance of this polar location, giving Astrocast the ability to continuously access their nanosatellites. This initial collaboration has paved the way for the future commercial operation of Astrocast via KSAT ground stations, ensuring the interface compatibility between the KSAT ground stations and Astrocast nanosatellites and the service control center.

“The unique feature about KSATlite is that we adjust the network to meet the customer needs. Meaning, as the constellation grows, the network will grow to accommodate required contact time and in essence growing together in a partnership,” explained Kristian Jenssen Director of KSATlite at KSAT.

The KSATlite network can support multiple satellites at several antennas across various sites – sometimes simultaneously. Leveraging an up-to-date Application Programming Interfaces (API), Astrocast will interface directly with the KSATlite scheduling database and real-time monitoring equipment from the cloud.

Currently supporting more than 10,000 contacts per month, KSAT’s lite-network is continuously expanding to deliver the most comprehensive ground solution in the market today – growing both the number of antennas as well as their geographical footprint.

“Our team has gathered unique hands-on experience with extensive constellation management, handling every aspect from licensing and testing through launch, LEOP, and on-orbit support, for the largest smallsat constellations in orbit today,” said Kristian Jenssen, director KSATlite. “The Astrocast team has impressed us with the unmatched performance of their system. We are excited to be working closely with such a pro-active and creative team and are eager to get started with supporting them on the commercial constellation.”

About KSAT

KSATlite is the ground solution for smallsat constellations. Offering flexible and easy-to-use communication with your spacecraft, this global network is optimized for secure and reliable constellation management. The KSATlite approach provides access to 10+ sites globally from a single point of interface and highly automated operations, with infrastructure to support local and cloud-based storage options for mission data.

KSAT, Kongsberg Satellite Services, is the world-leading provider of communication services between spacecraft and launch vehicles and Earth. Supporting a total of 50,000 satellite passes a month, its extensive global network of over 200 antennas at over 23 global locations, (including Pole to Pole coverage from Antarctica to the Arctic), ensures 24/7, responsive access to satellite telemetry, data, and communications.

About Astrocast

Astrocast SA is deploying the most advanced global Nanosatellite IoT Network to tackle challenges in industries such as Agriculture & Livestock, Oil, Gas & Mining, Maritime, Environmental, Connected Vehicles, and IoT Devices. The Astrocast Network enables companies to monitor, track, assess, and communicate with critical remote assets from anywhere in the world. In partnership with Airbus, CEA/LETI, the European Space Agency, and Thuraya, Astrocast developed Astronode S, a cutting-edge terminal featuring L-band antenna, ultra-low power consumption, and a small form factor. Founded in 2014 by a renowned team of experts and developers of the SwissCube, Astrocast designs, builds, and tests all of its products in-house, from the satellites to the terminals. The Astrocast Network will consist of 80 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) nanosatellites. Astrocast pilot customers include Actia, Marine Instruments and Swiss Fresh Water.