Denver-based BridgeSat announced a strategic relationship with Es’hailSat to install an optical ground station (OGS) at Es’hailSat facilities in Dohar, Qatar. BridgeSat is building out a network of OGS stations plus satellite downlink terminals while Eh’hailSat owns and operates a couple Ka- and Ku-band satellites serving the Middle East and Africa.
BridgeSat’s OGS ground stations are a part of a larger infrastructure play to integrate laser communications into satellites. The company has also developed satellite hardware to integrate optical communications technology into new satellites. Laser communications provides higher-speed broadband than traditional RF solutions. ICEYE is integration BridgeSat hardware into its SAR satellites, expecting to get up to 10 Gbps downlinks from low earth orbit (LEO) in a package weighing less than two kilograms.
While optical communications will deliver faster data rates at lower power, the technology doesn’t work through cloud cover – an issue unlikely to be encountered often in Dohar or other desert locations. Using optical tech also provides enhanced security and avoids interference and licensing issues with radio frequencies.
Es’hailSat will likely add BridgeSat hardware into future satellites as well as support downlinks by other laser-equipped satellites through BridgeSat’s OGS network. BridgeSat has nine OGS locations shown on its world map. OGS users will pay on a per-delivered bit (more likely Gigabit) basis once the data arrives from a satellite into their data center.