Communications satellite manufacturer Astranis Space Technology Corporation announced it is using Wind River VxWorks in its first broadband satellite. Astranis will be launching its first satellite to provide affordable broadband services over Alaska.
“We are very excited to be working with Wind River on our first satellite. Wind River’s proven success in space and their longstanding relationship with NASA and others in the space industry give us confidence that they are the right partner to bring our vision to life,” said Astranis CEO and cofounder John Gedmark.
VxWorks will be used to run the main flight computer controlling the avionics for guidance and communications with Earth. Wind River sofware has been onboard a variety of NASA missions for the past 25 years, including all of the Mars rover missions and deep space probes to asteroids and a comet.
The Astranis MicroGEO communications satellite is roughly a bit bigger than a “dorm fridge” at about three feet per side. With a targeted launch date by the second half of 2020, the dedicated Alaska satellite will provide 7.5 Gbps of capacity, nearly tripling the currently available satellite broadband capacity in Alaska and is expected to bring service costs down by an average of three times less than current residential and wholesale customer pricing.
Astranis is focusing on building smaller geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) satellites that are the fraction of the size and cost of communications satellites the side of a bus. Astranis MicroGEO weighs in at 300 kilograms, making it easier and faster to build, launch, and put into service compared to 4000 to 6500 kilogram satellites that have dominated the satellite broadcast space for decades.