US satellite for tracking and data relay: SpaceLink to improve communications for the International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) could benefit from faster communications between them in low earth orbit and the ground crew, thanks to SpaceLink’s relay satellite.

The Northern Virginia-based company that builds communications highways for the space economy said it is expected to demonstrate its relay satellite in 2024.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
The International Space Station (ISS) is a backdrop over Miami, Florida, in this 35mm frame photographed by STS-108 Commander Dominic Gorie aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor on December 15, 2001.

StarLink secures funding to demonstrate relay satellite for the ISS

In a press release published by SpaceLink in PR Newswire, the company announced that the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which manages the U.S. National Laboratory for the ISS, has selected them for a funded demonstration of its satellite end relay service. Hopefully this will provide secure, continuous, high capacity communications between the spacecraft and the ground.

The SpaceLink concept was selected from other companies and research teams who came up with new technology, which can be used in low earth orbit. The selection means that the company could advance its proposal for a potential flight to the ISS.

“Our demonstration on the ISS is the first step in proving SpaceLink’s capabilities to advance space science and the emerging space economy,” SpaceLink CEO David Bettinger said in a statement.

“The CASIS funding marks an important milestone in SpaceLink’s roadmap to deliver massive bandwidth to organizations that need real-time connectivity between space and ground,” he added.

READ ALSO: UK to impose stricter rules to control Starlink, OneWeb satellites, avoiding dangers and interference in orbit

How will StarLink improve communications in the ISS?

The proliferation of spacecraft in low earth orbit means a high demand for fast, continuous and high capacity connectivity. SpaceLink’s Relay Satellite was designed to pick up where NASA’s Satellite Tracking and Data Relay System (TDRSS) left off and go beyond its limits to deliver the latest advancements in technology. optical communication.

As reported by Space News, SpaceLink is planning a relay constellation of four spacecraft in medium earth orbit to provide services to spacecraft in low earth orbit. The company said its spacecraft at higher altitudes would make them visible to planes in low Earth orbit and a gateway ground station on Earth to enable data delivery to any part of the world in milliseconds.

In addition, the demonstration mission of its relay satellite will show that its hybrid optical and radio frequency network and its optical and thermal technology can be used in the future for on-board systems, experiments and communications with the ground crew.

SpaceLink CTO and ISS Demonstration Mission Principal Investigator Rob Singh told SpaceNews that SpaceLink will provide a similar high-capacity 100-600 Mbps service for RF users.

They will use a 10 Gbps optical terminal to exchange real-time voice, video and data between the crew on board the ISS and those on the ground, under low earth orbit, according to Defense Connect. .

“SpaceLink will also provide higher capacity 1 to 10 Gbps optical links for optical clients,” Singh told the outlet.

RELATED ARTICLE: Starlink vs. OneWeb Space Satellite: what’s the difference? What Makes Faster Internet?

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