Israeli communications tech startup NSLComm launched its first nano-satellite, the NSLSat-1, into space on Friday, July 5, fitted with an innovative, antenna that expands and offers high-performance and affordability.
The company developed a fabric-like, flexible and expandable dish antenna to offer high-throughput communications for small satellites that is up to 100 times faster than that of today’s best-performing nano-satellites, NSLcomm said in a statement ahead of the launch this week.
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The technology, NSLcomm explained, permits antennas to be stowed during launch in a compact volume and deploy while in orbit, saving mass, volume, and supporting structures. It also offers “substantial cost savings (around 10 times) for larger satellites,” NSLcomm said.
The NSLSat-1 was installed on the payload of the Soyuz launch vehicle, which took it into space at 1:42 AM Eastern Time at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in far east Russia.
“The launch of NSLSat-1 is a significant achievement for our company and what we believe to be a watershed moment for the entire satellite industry,” says Raz Itzhaki, co-founder and CEO of NSLComm. “Our technology represents one of the biggest leaps in satellite antenna performance-to-weight ratios and, with this launch, we are on a mission to prove that high-speed satellite communications can be done faster, cheaper and more effectively than it has been to date.”
Once in space, NSLSat-1 will be tested by several tier-one customers from across automotive, telecom and travel industries. NSLComm’s investors include Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), OurCrowd, Cockpit Innovation and Liberty Technology Venture Capital, NSLcomm said in a statement.
NSLComm says its technology “is the only solution that can bring high-speed broadband connectivity to and from small terminals, allowing for a full array of applications around IoT and sensors, in areas such as agriculture, mining, oil & gas, shipping, government and more. The technology can also support large pipes of data for internet and video at costs that are significantly lower than current satellite communication technology offers. “
Yoav Tzurya of Jerusalem Venture Partners said, “NSLComm is changing the satellite communication market in a meaningful manner, providing two to three orders of magnitude improvement in cost per bandwidth, and unlocking a myriad of new applications for several multi-billion dollar markets.”
Last month, NSLComm signed an agreement with Amazon Web Services for the use of AWS Ground Station, a network of ground stations for satellites.
The company, in cooperation with its partners, expects to launch 30 satellites by 2021 and hundreds by 2023, facilitating its nano-satellite network to provide high-speed worldwide communications for customers.
Founded in 2009, NSLComm says it is part of the fast-growing “NewSpace” industry pioneering privately-backed spaceflight. The company’s current customer base includes satellite and spacecraft developers and manufacturers, satellite owners, and service providers.
“Space is indeed the new frontier for venture capital and NSLComm is leading the way towards nano-satellites that are smarter, more agile and more powerful than ever before,” said Jon Medved, CEO of OurCrowd. “This company will link communities around the world in previously unconnected locations with high-speed connectivity and things will never be the same again.”
NSLcomm is also supported by the Israel Space Agency and Kodem Growth Partners in New York City.
Avi Lindenbaum, the founder of Kodem Growth Partners LLC, said, “NSLComm is uniquely positioned to enable and develop a large set of new offerings utilizing very small and inexpensive satellites for both commercial and government customers.”