14 October 2021
OHB Selected for Satellite Manufacturing
SpaceLink Signs Authorization to Proceed with OHB for Satellite Manufacturing Contract
In commercial endorsement of SpaceLink’s vision, OHB invests $25 million as cornerstone investor in initial financing round
SpaceLink, the company building the communications superhighway for the space economy, announced that it signed an authorization to proceed with OHB System AG (OHB) for the manufacture of its initial constellation of high-capacity relay satellites under a contract valued at over $300 million.
Following a competitive procurement process, OHB was selected for its advanced technical solution, experience with Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites, processed payloads, and optical communications, and track record of reliability and on-time delivery. In a commercial endorsement of SpaceLink’s vision to build a network for continuous, high-capacity communications for time-critical service between spacecraft and the ground, OHB has invested $25 million in SpaceLink as the cornerstone investor in the initial round of financing for the project. Further details of the funding will be announced in coming weeks.
OHB, based in Bremen, Germany, has extensive experience building spacecraft for the European Space Agency and the European Commission, including 34 Galileo navigation satellites, which operate in MEO, and the EDRS-C satellite which will provide laser relay communications from geostationary orbit (GEO). The company has expertise in satellites, manned spaceflight, exploration, and security and reconnaissance technologies, and builds Low Earth Orbit (LEO), MEO, and GEO satellites for communications, terrestrial observation, and scientific applications.
With launch planned for 2024, the SpaceLink relay system will provide operational connectivity to commercial and government space missions using both RF and optical links to the relay satellites, and laser crosslinks to route traffic to any SpaceLink ground entry point and on to the user’s Mission Operations Center. The system will support the growing bandwidth demand and security requirements of commercial, civil, and U.S. and allied national security missions.
“Following an in-depth review of multiple manufacturing proposals, we found that OHB excelled at meeting our requirements,” said David Bettinger, Chief Executive Officer of SpaceLink. “The manufacturer selection was made with attention to our customers’ pressing needs, including flexibility, high data rates, and secure delivery.”
The agreement with OHB includes multiple subsystems and components, roughly half of which will be provided by U.S. suppliers. The four MEO spacecraft have digital payload processing and state of the art optical intersatellite links. Special emphasis will be placed on U.S. cybersecurity requirements enabling SpaceLink to provide a robust and secure transport layer for critical communications.
With the growing space economy and proliferation of spacecraft in LEO, the demand for fast, continuous, high-capacity connectivity is accelerating. SpaceLink’s unique architecture and location in MEO means the satellite constellation always has direct line of sight to satellites, space stations, tugs and servicers in LEO, as well as to its dedicated Gateway Earth Stations. SpaceLink will relieve the bandwidth bottleneck for organizations that need to transport data quickly and securely to users anywhere in LEO or on Earth.
“For SpaceLink, we are providing a highly reliable and cost-effective solution based on our modular satellite platform, which has been proven on multiple critical missions,” said Marco Fuchs, Chief Executive Officer of OHB SE. “We look forward to working together with the SpaceLink team to help launch this important resource for real-time space connectivity.”
The SpaceLink relay network is designed to pick up where the U.S. Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) leaves off, and go beyond with unprecedented capacity that leverages today’s technology advances. Enhancing the business case for Earth observation companies, commercial space stations, satellite servicers and space tugs, SpaceLink also meets requirements of the U.S. Government and close allies that want to leverage industry solutions.