Analysis and Commentary

EOS in satellite breakthrough, links with US defence

Analysis and Commentary

Space, communications and defence manufacturer Electro Optic Systems has scored the biggest possible ally as it attempts to commercialise its SpaceLink global system of linked optical relay communications satellites.

SpaceLink has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command Technical Center (USASMDC-TC) in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama to further the system’s development.

Under the agreement the organisations will work together to explore alternative space communications pathways that ensure resiliency and reduce sensor-to-shooter latency.

SpaceLink’s planned satellite relay system is planned for Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), with both laser optical and RF links to speed the flow of remote sensing data and communications between satellites gathering data in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and ground receivers.

At the same time such a system of near-Earth communications relay satellites could augment the US national security space architecture.

According to an announcement SpaceLink could provides secure, continuous, high-bandwidth communications between spacecraft and US Earth Stations or tactically deployed ground terminals.

SpaceLink CEO Dave Bettinger said: “The collaborative research and simulations will provide a baseline of interoperability between Government systems and the SpaceLink network.

“We are honoured to work with USASMDC-TC to assure that our development efforts meet the Army’s needs.

“Sharing facilities, intellectual property, and expertise will elevate solutions for both the warfighter and industry, ultimately enhancing national security and US dominance in space.”

The cooperative agreement is a huge fillip for EOS which has been reviewing its capital needs and priorities given the demand for capital that the SpaceLink satellite constellation represents for the Australian company, as well as its expansion plans elsewhere.

Export Finance Australia has agreed to provide conditional finance for up to US$80 million of debt funding for the initial satellite communications constellation, which is a third of the cost of the first four satellites.

EOS’s shares have been languishing this year, along with other Australian technology stocks, however they rose five cents or 5.26 percent yesterday to close at $1.00.

By mid-morning EOS shares had risen 17 percent to $1.17.

The company said the collaboration would help SpaceLink better understand the US Army concept of operations and adjust its technology roadmap to meet customer needs.

For the Army, it will provide the empirical modelling and simulations needed to support interagency requirements development for commercial remote sensing tactical downlink timeline requirements.

Because of its location in MEO and optical/RF communications relay capabilities, the SpaceLink network has continuous line of sight to LEO, MEO and GEO satellites and high-altitude airborne assets.

It also has continuous connectivity to its dedicated Gateway Earth Stations.

It is designed to support real-time tasking and downlink of data needed for military operators to make tactical decisions.

Image: Electro Optic Systems

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