Sydney-based Quasar Satellite Technologies has secured a $5.3 million contract with the Defence Innovation Hub to further develop its multi-beam phased array ground station system that may support hundreds of satellite communications simultaneously with a single compact antenna.
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Currently, traditional parabolic dish-based ground communications antennas can only support one satellite at a time for communication and management, creating a communications bottleneck.
Importantly, Quasar’s technology also meets another pressing space industry problem — what is in space and what is its purpose (called space domain awareness) — which will become increasingly important as it is expected that more than 50,000 satellites are expected to be launched in the next decade (currently there are just 6,000).
Phil Ridley, chief executive officer, Quasar Satellite Technologies, welcomed the contract, saying, “We are very excited to receive this investment from the Defence Innovation Hub. This support allows us to fast-track expansion of our unique phased array technology into new satellite bands, and ultimately contribute to our vision of creating a powerful, flexible, scalable, sovereign satellite communications capability for Australia.”
A phased array is a digitally controlled and created radio beam which can be steered in different directions rapidly without any moving hardware parts. Quasar’s true multi-beam array is very different to other phased arrays, which have two to three beams and are coupled to specific makes of satellites. Quasar’s phased array has up to 100 beams, is not brand coupled, and can scan the whole sky instantaneously. Quasar’s phased array can be compared to a large data centre instead of a single PC.
Quasar was born in 2021 from a partnership with Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, repurposing advanced technology developed over the past decade for radio astronomy to solve the biggest data congestion challenge facing the satellite industry today.
Customers will be able to access the patented true multi-beam and all-digital phased array ground station system through its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model.
Quasar Satellite Technologies received an $8.6 million seed round plus $1.9 million awarded from the NSW Physical Sciences Fund — Quasar’s mission is to provide scalable, cost-effective ground station service solutions for space communications and space domain awareness.