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$26.4 million won by Analytical Space for establishing the optical network

Analytical Space Inc., a satellite communications startup, has won a contract worth $26.4 million to design, build, and launch two hosted payloads and six CubeSats to establish the Fast Pixel Network which is meant for the optical communications. AF Ventures, which is the service’s venture arm, awarded Analytical Space the three-year contract. The funds were sourced from the Air Force Research Laboratory, United States Space Force Space and Missile System Center (MSC), while ASI investors will complement the Air Force financing.

ASI will develop a data transport network in the low-Earth orbit to obtain data from the geospatial intelligence satellites through the use of Fast Pixel Network.  The data gathered will then be sent from node to node through accelerated optical inter-satellite links and then delivered to intelligence, military, and commercial clients.

Gil Valdes said that keeping connectivity with the space-based assets and data produced will be crucial as the space domain become more challenging. ASI wants to develop a 16-unit CubeSats constellation using three orbital planes. Every plane will carry dozens of satellites. Dan Nevius, the ASI CEO, said that the network’s size would be directed by the link distances and downlink capacity demands. He added that the data rates would be achieved between the company’s nodes and customer satellites.

So far, ASI has initiated two technology demonstration CubeSats. The additional satellites will be launched later in the year. In 2022 and 2023, the company will launch two hosted payloads and six satellites for Fast Pixel Network. ASI has employed 19 people, and so far, it has collected $6.2 million for this mission.

The 1st Lt. Tyler of SMC’s Cross Mission Ground as well as Communications Enterprise at the Los Angeles said that the US Space Force Space, together with Missile Systems Center, is dedicated to leveraging a secure and resilient commercial space communications architecture by improving the exquisite systems and delivering boosted potentialities for war-fighters in all domains. He promised that they offer any supports to ensure the ASI mission is successful. Lt. Tyler added that the mission would benefit the entire world.

In collaboration with the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit, the US Air Force Space as well as Missile Systems Center awarded a contract to Atlas Space Operations to develop an antenna array to help support multi-mission needs and Air Force multi-band. Atlas chief executive Sean McDaniel announced this. However, McDaniel never revealed the value of the contract pending the Defense Department announcement. He said that this is a 12-month contract, which the company will use as a stepping stone to winning large government and commercial contracts.

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