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NASA Selects SES Space and Defense to Support Near-Earth Communications

SES Space and Defense, in partnership with Planet Labs (Planet), has been awarded a Funded Space Act Agreement from NASA’s Communications Services Project (CSP) to support the development and demonstration of near-Earth communication services in support of the agency’s future mission needs.

SES Space and Defense will partner with Planet to develop a real-time always-on low-latency connectivity solution enabled by SES’s geostationary (GEO) and medium earth orbit (MEO) constellations, including O3b mPOWER, to further NASA missions. Planet brings over a decade of experience in designing and manufacturing cutting-edge low-cost Earth observation satellites and radio communication systems.

SES Space and Defense has been awarded nearly USD 29 Million through NASA’s Funded Space Act Agreement to demonstrate commercial radio frequency GEO C-band and MEO Ka-band relay networks for SATCOM services to spacecraft in low earth orbit. These services include routine missions, contingency operations, launch and ascent, and early operations phase communications.

The solution proposed by SES Space and Defense will deliver robust, reliable and cost-effective mission-oriented operations, enabling high-rate and high-capacity two-way communications. Under the agreement, the company will complete technology development and in-space demonstrations by 2025, with NASA intending to seek multiple long-term contracts to acquire services for near-Earth operations by 2030. The adoption of agile and innovative SATCOM service will support NASA in phasing out its proprietary systems, as well as other NASA-operated systems.

“Combining the multi-orbit capabilities of SES, the global leader in delivering content and connectivity solutions via satellite, with that of Planet Labs, one of the world’s leading commercial imaging companies, will create the world’s first high-throughput commercial space relay service, enabling timely and data-driven decisions.”

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