Astranis announces new contract for US government mission, starting with on-orbit demonstration using Arcturus satellite

Demo will establish a secure communications link between remote locations in the United States, leveraging the power and flexibility of the Astranis software-defined radio

August 25, 2023
John Gedmark, Astranis Co-founder and CEO

Ever since Astranis announced our intention to provide secure comms for the US Government, we have been looking forward to having an on-orbit satellite that could be used to demonstrate exactly that. We now have a satellite active and operational in geostationary orbit, and we’re ready to put it to the test.

Today, we are excited to announce that we have signed a contract with a trusted partner of the national security space community to demonstrate secure end-to-end communications using the Arcturus satellite.

An Astranis MicroGEO satellite providing a secure communications link

As the Russian cyberattacks on a satellite system just before the invasion of Ukraine proved, space is increasingly becoming a contested domain. Our adversaries have shown their willingness to target commercial satellite networks, and the Department of Defense is now laser-focused on improving the resiliency and responsiveness of our on-orbit assets to ensure our warfighters can stay connected and secure.

That is part of the reason why we at Astranis have engaged the Department of Defense and spent our own private dollars to develop industry-leading Software-Defined Radio technology — flexibility is the key to reliability in on-orbit communications in a contested environment.

As part of this effort, Astranis will use the Arcturus satellite to demonstrate secure uplink and downlink from San Francisco to Alaska, and back. This on-orbit test was scoped and planned out extremely quickly — a vast improvement over legacy approaches that may have taken years to come together. This demo shows the growing agility to rapidly address national security needs with Astranis's MicroGEO, and could lead to the procurement of multiple, dedicated satellite assets in the future.

Three Astranis MicroGEO satellites operating together on orbit

This will be the next tech demonstration performed using the Astranis Arcturus satellite, but it isn’t the first, and it won’t be the last. We have worked closely with both commercial and government customers to demonstrate the successful operation of the Astranis-designed payload, and all Astranis hardware on-board Arcturus continues to work perfectly.

We look forward to further demonstrating the power of the Astranis Software-Defined Radio, and the agility of the MicroGEO model. And we are excited to prove that our satellites can be extremely valuable assets to the US Government.

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