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  • Satellite Evolution

Atheras Analytics gets UKI2S funding to launch SaaS platform to boost satellite link availability

Atheras Analytics, a UK-based company in the satellite telecommunications sector, has secured funding from the UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S). The funding will allow Atheras to extend the capabilities of its SaaS-based software tools to cover a wider range of satellites and orbits.

Founded in August 2020, Atheras Analytics’ core technology is based on research that has been conducted by UKI2S partner, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), into the effects of weather impairments on Ka-band and Q/V-band satellite links. The company has developed a suite of SaaS-based software tools that enables satellite operators to optimise the design and operation of their next-generation Ka-band and Q/V-band satellite networks by taking into account region-specific weather conditions – in particular rainfall.

The core of these tools is an AI-based Outage Prediction Algorithm (OPA) that was developed by STFC RAL Space inventor, Dr Spiros Ventouras, based on ESA-funded research into atmospheric attenuation of Ka-band and Q/V-band satellite links, which were taken across Europe over several years. The OPA employs advanced machine learning techniques, including neural networks, to 'train' it for multiple different operational scenarios.

Atheras’ Managing Director, John Yates, explained: “This funding will enable us to support the many new innovative satellite constellations coming on-line in the near future offering ubiquitous high-speed Internet service to business and consumers worldwide. It will help us to accelerate the development of our toolkit and extend the capabilities of the OPA into exciting new growth areas, such as the rapidly evolving low Earth orbit and medium Earth orbit satellite constellations and optical satellite links.”

Letizia Gionfrida, Investment Associate at Midven, the fund manager for UKI2S, said: “Atheras is a great example of how high-quality research by one of our partner laboratories can form the basis of a company solving a global problem and we look forward to supporting their growth.”

The satellite telecommunications sector is about to enter a phase of major change in the delivery of ubiquitous consumer and enterprise broadband through the use of high throughput satellites (HTS) and very high throughput satellites (VHTS), which can deliver more than 20x the data capacity of traditional satellites at a fraction of the cost. Employing higher frequency Ka-bands and Q/V-bands is necessary to support these higher data rates. However, because these higher frequency bands are much more susceptible to atmospheric impairments than those previously used, the work of Atheras Analytics is essential to support this shift in broadband delivery.


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