Startup Space Spotlight: Israel’s NSLComm is Supercharging Smallsat Bandwidth
Israeli aerospace startup NSLComm has achieved what it considers to be an industry first. It has developed a flexible and expandable pattern-shaping spacecraft antenna that self-corrects on deployment to enable small satellites to project directable high-capacity footprints of more than 1 Gbps of throughput onto the Earth’s surface. Extremely light in weight and with a low-volume, this technology aims to supercharge bandwidth from smallsats previously limited to low Mbps in throughput to rates 100 times the previous limitations. NSLComm Co-Founder and CEO Raz Itzhaki-Tamir spoke with Via Satellite about the technology he and his company are planning to disrupt the world of smallsats as we understand it today.
An expert in the fields of nanosatellites and algorithms with over two decades of experience, Itzhaki-Tamir has managed multiple satellite programs, integrating various satellites and sub-systems on Israeli satellites. In 2006, he established the nanosatellite department of Israel Aerospace Industries. There, he was responsible for the initiation of seven nanosatellite programs. Itzhaki-Tamir is also the CEO of INSA, the Israeli Nano Satellite Association, and was named a group winner in the 2018 Startup Space Entrepreneur Pitch Contest.
This interview is part of our series of chats with leaders of new, up and coming aerospace start-ups as we lead up to the Startup Space 2019 contest.
Via Satellite: What inspired the launch of NSLComm?
Itzhaki-Tamir: NSLComm was established with a vision to provide the world with the best of its bread cost effective SATCOM solutions per MB; we achieve that by having the highest capacity SATCOM data link on the smallest possible satellite (Nano CubeSat type)
Via Satellite: What makes your offering unique? What previously missing need does the company fulfill?
Itzhaki-Tamir: We have developed a unique technology which enables Nano-Satellites communication solutions to gain ultra-high bitrate communication by deploying a large diameter flexible antenna from flexible shape memory materials. Our first satellite demonstration will enable this ultra-high data link with a very small satcom terminal demonstrating up to 2Gbps in Ka-band. Our antenna solutions has the smallest form factor available today hence can be contained and integrated into a very small (cube-sat Nano size) stowed compartment. Once in space the antenna deploys and enables very high bitrate.
We have developed another unique system such as an adaptive corrective pattern shaping sub-reflector. permits for continual beam control and shaping and Key use cases fitted to our solutions includes IOT along with massive raw data store & forward capabilities (S&F), supporting miniature terminals used for connected car telematics infrastructure, high capacity backhauling for cellular networks last mile connectivity, in-flight connectivity, high capacity inter-satellite links (ISL), LEO to GEO communications, and more.
Via Satellite: How was the company started? Who was involved with the launch?
Itzhaki-Tamir: NSLComm was established in 2015 by myself, Daniel K. Rockberger (CE), and Danny Spirtus (CTO). Daniel and I are coming from a vast experience in designing, building and launching satellites. Danny is a former CTO of RaySat Broadcasting Corp., which is a market pioneer in low cost one-way and two-way antenna products for commercial and consumer markets. Today the company has more than 25 engineers and sales & marketing experts to support its constantly growing business & activities.
Via Satellite: Describe your major accomplishments since launch. What gives you confidence that NSLComm will succeed and thrive in the market?
Itzhaki-Tamir: We are currently in the final stages of integration of our first satellite NSLsat1 that is scheduled to be launch later this year. In the next two years, we will provide several solutions to customers (government or industry) looking for a constellation. This ability will include small constellations such row data S&F for IOT networks, equatorial constellation for B2B & cellular backhauling solution and polar constellation for IFC & governmental use. We have accomplished two series of financing, A & B, rounds, raising over $12 million, With major investors such as Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), Liberty Israel Venture Fund (LIVF), GF Hawk, OurCrowd and El-Al’s Cockpit Venture Fund with cooperation of Boeing and Lufthansa.