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Kepler releases satellite laser link data

June 14, 2024

By Chris Forrester

The Canadian-based Kepler mega-constellation has been working with a pair of prototype ‘pathfinder’ craft operating in low Earth orbit in order to prove its system, and has released data which shows how powerful the concept could be.

Mina Mitry, Kepler’s CEO, said it had moved terabytes of data across its pair of demo-craft and extensively tested the sort of demands likely to be made by its clients. The tests all focussed on the interoperability of the craft’s laser links. The company is promoting its planned services as ‘Delivering data at lightspeed’.

The Kepler Network prototypes are equipped with extremely useful technology, and which allows Kepler to individually adjust orbits in order to demonstrate the link dynamics that a customer satellite may experience, Mitry stated.

The demo-craft are similar in technology to the company’s proposed relay constellation. The craft are designed to conform to standards of interoperability laid down by the US Space Development Agency (SDA). Indeed, the SDA and other governmental ‘defense and intelligence’ agencies are a prime target for business for Kepler.

Kepler will start launching its new fleet in 2025 and the first 10 of these data relay craft should start providing service before the end of next year.

Meanwhile, Kepler currently operates 21 much smaller craft in sun-synchronous orbits that use radio frequencies to provide low-data-rate connectivity for remote devices. These are much smaller satellites and measure just 10 centimeters on each side.

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