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Kepler Validates Tesat Optical Communications Terminals in In-Orbit Test 

By Rachel Jewett | June 11, 2024

Kepler Communications’ LEO network. Photo: Kepler Communications

Kepler Communications has validated optical inter-satellite links, transmitting data between two relay satellites in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). The two Kepler satellites used in the test are equipped with Tesat SCOT80 optical terminals. Kepler announced the milestone on Tuesday. 

The pair of satellites were launched in November of 2023 to demonstrate technology for the company’s space data relay constellation, the Kepler Network. Kepler reported that it transferred an image file over the optical connection and also sent diagnostic data between the spacecraft. The terminals adhere to the Space Development Agency’s standard, and Kepler said the terminals demonstrated full link performance to the standard. Kepler tested multiple acquisition scenarios as well. 

Kepler has an existing constellation of 21 radio frequency (RF) satellites and is building a hybrid optical data relay network, with plans to offer initial optical services in 2025. Last year, Kepler raised $92 million in a Series C funding round

“Kepler is proud to make significant progress in creating the critical Internet infrastructure needed to solve compounding data needs in space. This OISL achievement is a testament to the hard work, determination, and brilliance of our Kepler team,” said Mina Mitry, Kepler CEO and co-founder. “The Kepler Network will act as a data transport layer, bringing modern Internet capabilities to space through an interoperable architecture that will revolutionize space communications as we know it.”