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Telesat Government Solutions Selected by NASA to Provide Space-to-Space Connectivity

Commercial SATCOM


Telesat Government Solutions Selected by NASA to Provide Space-to-Space Connectivity

Telesat Government Solutions announced that it has been selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to serve as a partner in its Communications Services Project under a $30.65 million Funded Space Act Agreement. The effort seeks to evaluate commercial satellite communications services to replace those provided by NASA’s aging Tracking and Data Relay Satellite system, Telesat said Tuesday.

In a statement, Ottawa-headquartered Telesat said that the American space agency plans to decommission the government-woned and operated TDRS constellation. NASA’s CSP initiative looks into the feasibility of passing on the constellation’s job to private-sector SATCOM providers.

The TDRS system currently provides near-constant communication relay links between NASA’s ground facilities in White Sands, New Mexico and Guam Island, and orbiting satellites below geosynchronous orbit. They provide near-continuous information relay services to over 25 missions, according to NASA’s website.

Under the agreement, the Candian company will demonstrate the space-to-space relay capabilities of its Telesat Lightspeed offering. As part of the initiative, Telesat said it intends to partner with Planet Labs PBC to develop a space-based radio frequency terminal hosted on two Earth observation spacecraft.

Telesat said that it intends to demonstrate Ka-band, high throughput transmission from its satellites, as well as mesh, space relay connectivity between the optically-linked low-Earth orbit satellites, before downlinking data to NASA operation centers.

Tom Eaton, president of Telesat Government Solutions, lauded NASA’s efforts to leverage services offered by the commercial space industry to meet future near-Earth communications requirements. He added that the Telesat Lightspeed architecture provides a “compelling value proposition” for NASA and other government agencies.

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Category: Space