ISU - Summer 2024

Kepler Validates Optical Technology for Data Relay Constellation

Kepler Communications’ LEO network. Credit: Kepler Communications
Credit: Kepler Communications

Ibadan, 18 June 2024. – Kepler Communications has announced the successful validation of optical inter-satellite links (OISLs) between two data relay satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO). During a commissioning and early operations phase, Kepler established optical inter-satellite links between two Pathfinder satellites featuring  Space Development Agency (SDA) compatible Tesat SCOT80 optical terminals.

Kepler launched the pair of satellites in November of 2023 to demonstrate technology for the company’s space data relay constellation, The Kepler Network. Before launching the optical testing campaign, the Company also performed spacecraft commissioning and extensive checkout of its Pathfinder systems.

In addition to initial optical link commissioning, the company has demonstrated Internet Protocol (IP) mesh networking in orbit by communicating with multiple satellites in real time over a single ground link, using standard protocols including Secure Shell (SSH), Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), and User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

The first file the validation exercise transferred over the optical connection was a recent picture of Kepler’s global team gathered near its headquarters in Toronto, Canada. Furthermore, in the first week of testing, the company successfully sent diagnostic data between the two spacecraft, before demonstrating the full link performance according to the SDA standard. In addition, the validation tested multiple acquisition scenarios, and both terminal and spacecraft performed optimally.

Speaking on the successful validation, Mina Mitry, CEO and co-founder of Kepler, said “Kepler is proud to make significant progress in creating the critical Internet infrastructure needed to solve compounding data needs in space. This OISL achievement is a testament to the hard work, determination, and brilliance of our team.” The co-founder also added, “The Kepler Network will act as a data transport layer, bringing modern Internet capabilities to space through an interoperable architecture that will revolutionize space communications as we know it.”

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