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Planet Labs Completes Months-Long Inter-Satellite Link Test

Satellite communications

Planet Labs Completes Months-Long Inter-Satellite Link Test

Planet Labs PBC has concluded an inter-satellite communications link test that started in late August under NASA’s Communications Services Project.

The test, done in partnership with SES Space & Defense, validated the data rates, latency and other capabilities of Planet’s radio and antenna design. The components are meant to support last-minute tasking capabilities and other space missions that require persistent, near-real-time, low-data rate inter-satellite links using global geosynchronous orbit C-band beams.

The test was part of a subcontract awarded by SES Space & Defense and Telesat Government Solutions in late 2022, Planet said.

Under the subcontract, SES tasked Planet to demonstrate a connectivity solution enabled by SES’s O3b mPower satcom system and other GEO and medium-Earth orbit constellations. For Telesat, Planet was required to build space-based radio frequency terminals hosted on two Earth observation spacecraft that would enable high-throughput Ka-band transmissions.

The demo builds on the company’s reputation for delivering space-based data to NASA.

In September, Planet secured a potential $18.5 million NASA contract under the Commercial SmallSat Data Acquisition program to continue supporting the agency’s research on climate change, ecosystems, disaster response and other critical missions. The contract is an extension to a CSDA award issued to Planet in October 2022.

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Category: Space