SAN DIEGO, CA. General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) and Tesat-Spacecom GmbH& Co. KG, Germany announced on April 9, that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly develop certified Space-based Laser Communication Terminals (SB-LCT) to support U.S. defense and intelligence applications. The companies will focus on developing solutions that enable secure, reliable on-orbit laser communications to meet specific government mission requirements.
“Free Space Optical communications, more commonly called Lasercomm, are quickly evolving as a more affordable way to significantly increase communication capabilities without the traditional limitations of RF [radio frequency] systems,” stated Scott Forney, President of GA-EMS. “This MOU is an exciting opportunity to bring our rich heritage in laser systems and operational flight experience together with Tesat’s extensive expertise in the development and operation of space-based Lasercomm technologies. Our goal is to investigate ways to rapidly and cost-effectively develop certified SB-LCT payloads to help meet customer demand for high performance, robust and secure communications in space.”
“General Atomics has a long established, successful working relationship with Tesat and we look forward to launching this new effort to develop multi-domain laser communications technologies to support a variety of critical mission requirements,” said Nick Bucci, Vice President of Space and Missile Defense Systems at GA-EMS. “We’ll leverage the advances we’ve made over the years to develop and deploy smaller, lighter and more capable SB-LCT payloads that enable space to space, space to air, and space to ground laser communications for reliable coverage worldwide.”
“Tesat-Spacecom is celebrating over 10 years of free space optics in orbit, and are now providing GEO and LEO LCT’s for operational space systems such as the European Data Relay Service, SpaceDataHighway, and the Copernicus Program,” stated Klaus Michel, Head of Marketing and Sales at Tesat. “We look forward to expanding our General Atomics relationship by providing our LCT space heritage subsystems for the development of the General Atomics certified SB-LCT’s for US defense and intelligence communities.”