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SES, Planet Complete Successful Data Relay Demonstration for NASA

By Mark Holmes | June 6, 2024

NASA CSP Render by SES

SES Space & Defense has demonstrated what it claims is the first multi-orbit, multi-band commercial space relay service in support of the NASA Communications Services Project (CSP). To demonstrate data relay services, SES Space & Defense partnered with Planet Labs (Planet), a provider of global daily Earth data using SES’s O3b mPOWER satellite constellation in MEO and Planet’s LEO flight-representative terminal. SES revealed details of the demonstration, June 5.

The demonstrations support NASA’s Funded Space Act Agreement, which enables commercial space relay via GEO C-band and MEO Ka-band satellites to spacecraft in LEO. The initiative allows for NASA’s transition from the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) to commercial systems for its space relay requirements while helping create a commercial market for space relay.

“With this end-to-end test and demonstration of capabilities, we were able to successfully showcase a complete data flow through our LEO Relay System (LRS) service. The data measurement results validated our multi- band commercial space relay service, set the stage for the flight demonstration as the next step, and for the future launch of the operational service offering. We are exceptionally proud of all involved in developing a multi-orbit, multi-band space relay for both government and commercial LEO operators as NASA’s TDRS system retires,” David Fields, President and CEO, SES Space & Defense, said in a statement.