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Space start-ups create a software-defined space to ground capability

US Software-as-a-Service company Antaris and Sydney-based Quasar Satellite Technologies have partnered to bring a breakthrough innovation in satellite constellation management to market. They will bring space-to-ground services through multi-beam phased array connectivity to market

Under their agreement, Quasar’s digital multibeam Phased Array technology, which enables customers to manage spacecraft constellations through a single ground station connection, will be integrated into Antaris Inc’s software-defined Open Satellite Platform.

Quasar’s fully digital ground station can communicate with up to 100 satellites simultaneously on the same antenna, greatly increasing the efficiency of access to space whilst reducing communication costs. Quasar will fully support open satellite communication standards for maximum interoperability.

“Quasar’s digital multi-beam Phased Array ground station is a game-changer,” said Antaris Inc Co-founder, Shankar Sivaprakasam. “Rather than having to establish links to satellite constellations using multiple ground stations and providers, Quasar’s connectivity from a single station vastly simplifies and creates a cost-effective earth-spacecraft communication.

“Being able to offer Quasar connectivity-as-a-service via the Antaris software-defined satellite platform for our SaaS customers will give us a significant advantage as we start to roll out our platform to clients across the world.”

Under the agreement, Antaris will be one of Quasar’s first demonstration users once the company’s multi- beam service launches in early 2023. Antaris plans to make ground contact from its demonstrator satellite (launching late 2022) via an API service with the company’s S band antenna, and other bands in the future. Antaris will then offer Quasar connectivity to its customer base including include SATCOM providers, space agencies, defence and intelligence entities and contractors, and space start-ups.

“The Antaris SaaS marketplace solution for orbiting mission design and management is a perfect match for our flexible ground station solution,” said Quasar Satellite Technologies CEO, Phil Ridley. “Together they offer satellite mission designers a range of choices for developing their satellite capabilities for launch and then communicating with them in a cost-efficient way when in orbit.”

The two companies connected as they are members of the Aurora Space Cluster, a startup spun off by the Adelaide-based SmartSat CRC. The Cluster connects early and growth-stage start-up and scale-up companies with mentors, supporting partners, corporates, and aerospace primes to create opportunities for commercial and R&D collaboration and growth.

“Collaboration like this is unlocking significant potential within the space technology eco-system,” said Space Cluster Board Chair, Dr Tim Parsons. “This partnership will not just benefit both of these high-profile space start-ups as they establish themselves, it reduces costs while simplifying a critical element of constellation management. These in turn create opportunity for further innovation.”

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