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EchoStar Taps Astro Digital to Manufacture Global S-Band Constellation 

By Rachel Jewett | February 2, 2023

Industrial technology concept. Photo: EchoStar Mobile

EchoStar Corporation announced plans for a global S-band constellation to provide IoT services on Thursday, signing a deal with Astro Digital to manufacture the satellites. EchoStar ordered 28 small satellites to begin services in 2024. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

The satellites will feature an advanced software-defined radio with onboard storage and processing for two-way device connectivity and use LoRa protocol for connecting very low-cost, long-lived devices. EchoStar said it plans to engineer 5G New Radio (NR) based non-terrestrial network capabilities according to 3GPP release 17 specifications.

“This agreement represents another step forward towards our goal of a global non-terrestrial 5G network,” said Hamid Akhavan, CEO of EchoStar. “With our engineering ingenuity, our service delivery expertise and our spectrum rights, EchoStar is uniquely positioned to offer worldwide S-band satellite services to help meet the insatiable demand for complete and constant connectivity.”

EchoStar will operate the constellation from its Australian subsidiary, EchoStar Global. 

The company currently operates a mobile satellite services network in Europe using the Geostationary EchoStar XXI satellite, through a European subsidiary, EchoStar Mobile Limited. 

“These new capabilities will fill a gap in the connected ecosystem, greatly expanding worldwide IoT interoperability,” said Josh Williams, managing director of EchoStar Global Australia. “Our team, together with Astro Digital, has already begun integration of our Australian-based operations to bring to market a truly global solution with consistent and reliable network performance.”

Astro Digital, based in Santa Clara, California, is also building Orbital Sidekick’s hyperspectral constellation, known as GHOSt.