The contract continues R&D for a flight-ready satellite data relay transceiver prototype which will provide a bi-directional and persistent commercial satellite data connection to space-based assets
September 6, 2023 – SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO, USA – Solstar Space (Solstar), the company making space Wi-Fi available, today announced it will continue development of its Critical Data Relay Spacecraft Operational Status (CritDR-SOS), also known as the Deke Space Communicator (Deke), under a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Contract valued at $1,249,269. Solstar’s small form-factor Deke integrates with a spacecraft’s Telemetry, Tracking and Commanding (TT&C) system to provide bi-directional, continuous, internet-based monitoring of the spacecraft’s bus, payload, and environment. It also allows for satellite connectivity with operators or end users utilizing robust commercial communications paths which will help eliminate spacecraft situational awareness gaps.
“Monitoring an endlessly growing number of satellites including commercially owned and operated mega-constellations is a top priority for the U.S. Space Force,” says Brian Barnett, CEO, Solstar Space. “With Solstar’s Deke, the Department of Air Force (DAF) can connect space assets which makes the communications network more resilient. This effort has the extended benefit of aligning with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recent directive to have de-orbiting capability on-board all spacecraft which Deke facilitates,” continues Barnett.
“New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMT) is developing a Spacecraft Health Monitor (SHM) that will connect to the Deke to send and receive spacecraft data. This will provide detailed spacecraft operating data and provide proactive alerts so any faults can be addressed efficiently,” says Dr. Andrei Zagrai, Professor at NMT.
“Deke enables narrowband communications for both uplink and downlink, decreasing the time it takes to download mission data or adjust on-orbit systems. It also enables 24/7 awareness of satellite health by combining the Solstar Deke along with New Mexico Tech’s Spacecraft Health Monitor,” says Brian Barnett.
To learn more about Solstar and the Deke Space Communicator, visit https://www.solstarspace.com/.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.
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ABOUT SOLSTAR SPACE
Solstar Space is the leading commercial space-based connectivity company pioneering the use of persistent communications services for all types of on-orbit assets including satellites, space stations, launch vehicles, and more. We provide an internet connection between spacecraft and Earth-based payload managers, satellite operators, and enable communications for crewed missions in sub-orbit, LEO, and cis-lunar and lunar surface operations.
Our fast, reliable services, space-tested routers, WiFi access points and hotspots, and space-based satellite data relays are being developed to deliver on-orbit connectivity and are supported by 24/7 customer care. These devices are installed on satellites and spacecraft prior to launch to keep crew, spacecraft, and Earth-based satellite operations teams connected. Visit https://www.solstarspace.com.
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About Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit www.afresearchlab.com.
The innovation arm of the DAF and a directorate within AFRL. Brings cutting-edge American ingenuity from small businesses and start-ups to address the most pressing challenges of the DAF. Employs approximately 325 military, civilian and contractor personnel at five hubs and sites executing an annual $1.4B budget. Since 2019, has executed 4,671 contracts worth more than $2B to strengthen the U.S. defense industrial base and drive faster technology transition to operational capability. For more information, visit: www.afwerx.com.