Israeli nanosatellite with orbiting constellation to launch on Friday

The flexible satellite technology was developed by NSLComm in response to the growing “NewSpace” industry.

By DAVID DIMOLFETTA
July 4, 2019 00:08
2 minute read.
Israeli nanosatellite with orbiting constellation to launch on Friday

The NSLSat-1 . (photo credit: NSLCOMM)

Israel will launch a satellite into space on Friday with high-throughput communications, a first for the Jewish state.

The nanosatellite, NSLSat-1, will be launched by Tel Aviv-based start-up NSLComm out of the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the area known as Russian Far East. High-throughput satellites (HTSs) can provide up to 100 times faster throughput than what exists on today’s best performing nanosatellites.

China launched the first HTS in 2017 from its Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwest Sichuan Province. An increase in throughput provides better access to the Internet on planes and high-speed trains.

NSLSat-1 is installed on the payload of the Soyuz launch vehicle.

The flexible satellite technology was developed by NSLComm in response to the growing “NewSpace” industry, where space flight is being spearheaded by the private sector. The technology, collapsible and fabric-like, allows antennas to be stowed during launch and deployed later while in orbit, saving mass and volume.

Dr. Raz Itzhaki Tamir, cofounder and CEO of NSLComm, said the launch of the satellite is a “significant achievement” for the start-up and a watershed moment for the satellite industry.

“With this launch, we are on a mission to prove that high-speed satellite communications can be done faster, cheaper and more effectively than it has been to date,” he said.

NSLComm’s technology is the only one currently on the market able to bring high-speed broadband connectivity to and from small terminals, allowing for large data transfer of Internet and video. The high transfer speeds are also useful in mainstream fields such as agriculture, mining and shipping.

NSLSat-1 will be tested with several “tier-one partners” in the automotive, telecom and travel industries upon its arrival in space. Such markets, alongside government and IoT, are worth an estimated annual $50 billion, according to NSLComm. The start-up has already signed an agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to use the AWS Ground Station, a ground satellite hub with locations currently in Oregon and Ohio.

NSLComm and its partners plan to launch 30 satellites by 2021 and hundreds by 2023, enabling “high-speed worldwide communications for its customers’ network via an orbiting constellation.”

The start-up’s investors, including OurCrowd, Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and Kodem Growth Partners in New York City, have expressed tremendous support for the venture.
“This company will link communities around the world in previously unconnected locations with high-speed connectivity, and things will never be the same again,” said OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved.

The Israel Space Agency has also supported the nano-satellite company, saying that such start-ups increase “competitive capacity” and “expand the Israel space ecosystem,” according to Avi Blasberger, the agency’s director.

NSLComm creates antenna solutions to allow for faster bandwidth transfer while lowering cost per bit. The antennas allow operators to focus supply directly on specific areas where bandwidth demand is needed using in-orbit footprint control technology.

The management team comprises developers with experience in military technology, aerospace design and communications. Daniel K. Rockberger, cofounder and chief engineer, designed the first Israeli nanosatellite, InKlajn-1.


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