10 October 2022
NASA Awards Contract to SpaceLink
The satellite relay system provider will study and demonstrate optical ground terminal integration with NASA’s Near Space Network
McLean, Va. – October 11, 2022 – SpaceLink, a company that provides secure data relay from any orbit, any time, announced it was awarded a contract by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) to study how commercial optical ground terminals will integrate into the Near Space Network. The funded study includes a demonstration of end-to-end transport of multi-source data at the SpaceLink gateway in the Mojave Desert.
SpaceLink is creating a TDRSS-like capability in MEO, to significantly increase throughput, provide persistent links to space-borne assets, and securely deliver data in real-time. It is well-positioned as a resource to support NASA’s transition towards commercial services for Direct to Earth communications and Space Relay.
“Developing our data transport system has pushed the SpaceLink architecture team to optimize across space, ground, client, and network segments, and to address challenges associated with optical high-capacity data delivery solutions,” said Rob Singh, SpaceLink Chief Technology Officer. “SpaceLink is excited to explore innovative solutions that can help inform and guide NASA towards the successful commercialization of the Near Space Network services.”
As part of the study, SpaceLink will identify the barriers, challenges, and solutions associated with integration of optical communications ground terminals into the Near Space Network architecture. The technical demonstration consists of an end-to-end test of multi-source data moving from SpaceLink’s Mojave Gateway facility to NASA’s terrestrial network using Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud infrastructure.
SpaceLink previously selected the Mojave Air & Space Port at Rutan Field as the location for its primary Gateway in the United States. Its RF and optical terminals will be built on a five-acre parcel with redundant high-capacity fiber backhaul to densely interconnected data centers (Carrier Hotels) in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. SpaceLink is establishing its Gateway Development Lab at the Mojave facility to support system development, demonstrations such as the one for NASA GSFC, and for on-boarding high-capacity data relay service customers.
“SpaceLink has demonstrated current and state of the art experience and technologies for space-based optical communication link and services,” said Dr. Ruma Das, CIS Deputy Office Chief at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “We selected SpaceLink for the capabilities study award based on its considerable organizational capabilities and highly-qualified key personnel for information related to Optical Communications and road mapping to ground segment integration techniques and concepts.”
Increased human spaceflight missions and proliferated LEO constellations are creating ground station bottlenecks and conflicted RF spectrum for many satellite operators. The SpaceLink network will relieve this congestion to address the burgeoning market demand for immediate data delivery.
SpaceLink is building a constellation of relay satellites in MEO that use optical intersatellite links to speed communications between spacecraft on orbit and users on the ground. SpaceLink’s work with NASA GSFC will explore innovative solutions to inform and guide NASA towards the seamless integration of commercially provisioned communications services.
A company recognized for its outstanding innovation, SpaceLink recently announced it was awarded a contract by DARPA to participate in its Space-BACN program. Last month SpaceLink also announced it has entered into a Research and Development Agreement with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Technical Center.