Astranis announced today that it has started to build four new small geostationary communications satellites, three of which are already spoken for under signed deals with new, yet-to-be-announced customers. To kick off the manufacturing of these four satellites, Astranis has placed orders with many of its major component suppliers, committing over $30 million to start procuring long-lead hardware, confirm delivery dates, and accelerate timelines. The list of suppliers includes trusted aerospace vendors L3 Harris Technologies, RUAG Schweiz AG, Aitech Systems, Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace AS, and Moog, Inc.
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Artist’s concept of twin Astranis satellites providing service from GEO. Credit: Astranis
This next production block of Astranis satellites includes an upgraded payload that drives higher throughput and various bus improvements that extend satellite lifetime. In total, Astranis expects these satellites will offer 15% greater lifetime and 20% greater throughput than their first-generation model, without increasing satellite hardware cost.
“We are innovating fast,” said Astranis CEO John Gedmark. “This next block of four satellites contains some significant upgrades, and we have much more where this came from.”
While Astranis develops proprietary core technology such as the Software-Defined Radio, it procures mission-critical components from a number of highly accomplished aerospace vendors. Astranis has secured Traveling Wave Tube Power Amplifiers (TWTAs) from L3Harris Technologies Electron Devices Division; structural panels from RUAG Schweiz AG; flight computers from Aitech Systems; Telemetry, Tracking, and Control (TT&C) radios from Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace AS; and monopropellant thrusters from Moog, Inc. These vendors are trusted Astranis partners, as these components were also used by Astranis’s Alaska satellite, which will begin service in early 2022.
Three of the four satellites in this next Astranis production block are reserved by customers under recently inked deals that are still to be announced. “We are excited to announce additional details about the customers for these satellites in the coming weeks,” Gedmark said. “Stay tuned. Things are about to get really exciting.”
Astranis is building small, low-cost telecommunications satellites to connect the four billion people who currently do not have access to the internet. Each spacecraft operates from geostationary orbit (GEO) with a next-generation design of only 400 kg, utilizing a proprietary software-defined radio payload. This unique digital payload technology allows frequency and coverage flexibility, as well as maximum use of valuable spectrum. By owning and operating its satellites and offering them to customers as a turnkey solution, Astranis is able to provide bandwidth-as-a-service and unlock previously unreachable markets. This allows Astranis to launch small, dedicated satellites for small and medium-sized countries, Fortune 500 companies, existing satellite operators, and other customers.
Astranis has successfully launched a test satellite into orbit and is now underway with its first commercial program—a satellite to provide broadband internet for Alaska that will more than triple the available bandwidth across the state. This satellite is now in final assembly and set for a launch later in 2021.
The company is headquartered in San Francisco with a team of over 150, including world-class engineers from SpaceX, Boeing, Skybox, Qualcomm, Apple, and Google. Astranis has raised over $350M from top Silicon Valley and growth investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Venrock, and BlackRock.