- Laurence Russell
Catch a ride: Atomos Space and IDRS collab drops LEO satellites in precise orbital position
Atomos Space, a privately funded in-space transportation company, and Addvalue Innovation, a state-of-the-art communication terminals provider for space, air, land, and sea, are partnering to enable orbital transfer vehicles that relocate LEO satellites and provide flexible terrestrial logistics in orbit. The collaboration will leverage Addvalue’s innovative Inter-satellite Data Relay System (IDRS™) terminal operating over Inmarsat’s ELERA GEO satellite network.
Denver-based Atomos aims to deploy a fleet of orbital transfer vehicles that will serve the growing space economy by delivering satellite operator assets precisely to their needed slot in orbit. With its first mission due to launch in 2023, Atomos will begin servicing over $300m in Letters of Intent from commercial satellite operators. By equipping orbital transfer vehicles with IDRS ‘Always On’ command and control connectivity, Atomos will be able to safely perform its mission-critical precision rendezvous and proximity operations.
The increasing scarcity of radio spectrum for new operators, and the need for Atomos to remain in close contact with its orbital transfer vehicles during the critical phase when docking with customers, makes Addvalue's IDRS™ data relay technology the perfect fit. Traditional architecture risks orbiting craft losing contact, unless connected via a ground station. With Addvalue’s IDRS™ on board, the Atomos vehicle can access Inmarsat’s global reach and harness the constellation’s long-term commitment to specific frequencies to create a unique and continuous connectivity offering.
Addvalue's state-of-art IDRS™ solution delivers the consistent, on-demand, 24/7 data connection services that the agile orbital transfer vehicle needs to dock with an orbiting spacecraft. This ground-breaking technology supports bi-directional data transfer at rates in excess of 200 Kbps in all orbital inclinations and at altitudes of up to 1,000 km.
Atomos Space Chief Engineer, Scott Piggott, said, "Our ground-breaking orbital transfer vehicles need a cutting-edge communication solution to keep interactive information flowing during operations. We're excited to be leveraging Addvalue’s expertise and solutions in this critical area.”
Tan Khai Pang, chief executive officer of Addvalue, commented, “We're honored to be working with Atomos Space to boost accuracy and reduce risk for its rendezvous and proximity capabilities. By drawing on our proven experience using Inmarsat technology to drive our real-time IDRS™ data relay solution, we can help Atomos Space orbital transfer vehicles get to just where they need to be, safely and reliably."
”Inmarsat is delighted to be the provider of the communications link between Atomos Space and its fleet of Orbiter Transfer Vehicles,” said Todd McDonell, President of Inmarsat Global Government. “Inmarsat’s ELERA geostationary satellites and global ground network enable command and control of the orbital transfer vehicles in real time via the Addvalue IDRS 'Always On' link. This ensures that Atomos Space can deliver a precise, time-critical and reliable service to its clients – the satellite constellation operators.”