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Xenesis, Atlas to Develop Network for High Data Flow from Space

By Kendall Russell | January 18, 2018
Xenesis' prototype optics module used during airplane testing and demonstration. Photo: Xenesis.

Xenesis’ prototype optics module used during airplane testing and demonstration. Photo: Xenesis.

Atlas Space Operations and Xenesis, a communications company that focuses largely on the space-to-ground hardware market, have announced a partnership to develop a global optical communications network designed for high data flow from space. This partnership marks the first of three phases to deploy the optical framework aimed at opening the market to scalable and inexpensive communications.

Atlas will begin construction of the optical ground system in the first half of 2018. Construction of the network will take several years to fully complete and will support Xenesis’ Intercessor satellite constellation, which will provide terrestrial bypass optical communications.

On-orbit testing of the Intercessor constellation will start in 2020 with the first set of payloads, and will scale up exponentially from there. Xenesis currently has more than $10 million in backlog for its space-based optical terminal, the Xenesis Hub, and will begin servicing customers in late 2018, the company said.

“Our partnership with Atlas proves our commitment to developing a robust and fully integrated ground segment to address the increasing demand for low-cost and abundant communications infrastructure as we look to the future,” said Xenesis Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark LaPenna.

“When on-orbit operations begin, we will have the capability to move petabytes of data for our clients,” said Atlas CEO Sean McDaniel. “This is huge. We are already seeing increased interest in optical communications and are predicting an inevitable shift in the market.”