Audacy, a space communications service provider with offices in San Francisco and Singapore, announced today that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted the company a license to operate the world’s first commercial inter-satellite data relay network.
The data relay network will utilize two ground stations, in San Francisco and Singapore, as well as three Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites scheduled to launch in 2019. With this network, Audacy hopes the spectrum will be able to provide real-time downlink, continuous monitoring, and always-on command services to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) soacecraft.
“Securing commercial spectrum is one of the biggest obstacles to deploying a new satellite constellation and takes years of technical work, collaboration with regulators, and industry discussions,” said Dr. Ralph Ewig, CEO of Audacy. “Every part of the proposed system is rigorously scrutinized by regulators and existing space operators. Imagine you bought a phone and found a note that says: ‘Due to network constraints, this device can only be used for 1 hour per day.’ Replace the $600 phone with a $6M satellite and you have the current state of the commercial space industry. With this spectrum approval, Audacy will now fundamentally change space communications.”
According to the FCC, “Grant of Audacy’s application will further the Commission’s goals of encouraging spectrum efficiency, technological innovation, and the more rapid development of new satellite services to the public”.
Along with the Audacy license, the FCC has also granted O3B’s request to modify its existing U.S. market access grant by adding new non-geostationary satellites and new frequency bands to provide broadband communication services in the United States.