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General Atomics wins SDA contract to demonstrate optical communication terminals

San Diego-based General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has been awarded a contract of undisclosed value by the US Space Development Agency (SDA) to demonstrate the capabilities of the company’s Optical Communication Terminals (OCTs) hosted on GA-EMS’ GA-75 (75kg class) spacecraft while in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

The company is designing and building two OCTs to provide robust space-to-space communication in a degraded environment and establish and maintain links to meet SDA standards and requirements. The OCTs can support a network of satellites, data and information sharing, and collective on-orbit computing resources to support customer and mission requirements.

“This contract supports the deployment of next generation optical communication technologies that will provide faster, more secure, higher fidelity transmissions, and greater resiliency to ensure 24/7 connectivity from the earth to space,” said Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS.

The OCTs will be integrated on two GA-EMS GA-75 spacecraft.  The GA-75 is a resilient, modular and configurable half-ESPA bus design able to support a variety of communications and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) payloads and missions.  The GA-75 is a commercially available platform that uses standard payload interfaces to enable seamless integration and mission-ready delivery times. It is also compatible with multiple launch vehicles and can package two spacecraft per ESPA port or fill a single ESPA port depending on mission payload size.

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