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  • Satellite Evolution

ESA and UKSA funding award to hiSky UK, designated for showcasing its Smartellite™ ground network

hiSky, the rapidly growing Satellite Virtual Network Operator (SVNO) scale-up, announced today its plan to showcase Smartellite™ Ku and Ka Dynamic terminals, operating via LEO (Low Earth Orbit) nanosatellite 'Ella1,' as part of its ongoing relationship with the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) through its ARTES Core Competitiveness Program.

hiSky provides end-to-end satellite network solutions with a commitment to continuously offer customers reduced running costs, both upfront and ongoing, making connectivity accessible to anyone.

'Ella1' Nanosatellite will be launched into LEO orbit with the agenda to showcase the hiSkynetwork's unique ability to switch between GEO (Geostationary Orbit) satellite and LEO satellite using its proprietary quick-synchronizing modem and Electronically Steerable Antennas.

This fast-switching capability allows the small form factor, Electronically Steerable Antenna-based terminal, to provide customers with both a low data rate for Internet of things (IoT) and MSS (mobile satellite services) capability using GEO satellites and a high data rate capability for large data uploads and downloads using LEO satellites. These groundbreaking novel techniques will be accessible to all hiSky subscribers, and terminal owners on a future software update applied remotely on existing hardware and network infrastructure.

Currently, hiSky is strategically ready for its next growth phase, becoming a ground- breaking venture in the satellite industry that has it all: high capability terminals, a managed network system, and an upcoming independent satellite network.

All of the components in the hiSky network, developed in hiSky's R&D centers, will enable hiSky to provide its customers with a holistic solution to all their needs with a unified, high and low data rates network.

Spire will provide an innovative Space Service to 'Ella1' consisting of the development of certain elements of the payload front-end and software defined radios as well as the hosting of 'Ella1' payload subsystems and SW aboard the LEMUR 3U satellite platform.

Mr. Philip Meyers, General Manager hiSky UK, said, "We are honored to be awarded by ESA and UKSA for this Nanosat program, leading by Spire Global. Taking hiSky's cutting-edge Smartellite™ terminal and network designs and utilising the high throughput and low latency of LEO satellites will allow us to approach the industrial markets with propositions that cover many of their use cases, all with a low-cost, easy to deploy solution. Remaining an agnostic virtual network operator further allows us to ensure that we deploy with the best satellite partners catering to our customer's requirements. hiSky's main objective in this program is to showcase the ability to work with the existing Smartellite™ terminals and network with both GEO and LEO constellations, displaying hiSky network's unique capability to operate with all current and future Ka or Ku LEO constellations.

The LEO programme is a vastly important element in our ARTES SVNO programme with the European Space Agency. As ever, I'd like to take this opportunity to once again thank UKSA and ESA for their support, guidance, and experience in this process."

Ms. Theresa Condor Executive Vice President, Space Services, Spire Global, Inc., said, "With Spire Space Services, what we offer goes beyond just payload hosting and plays an important role in 'Ella1's' major technological advance to the hiSky Smartellite™ ground network-as-a-service. The flexibility of our LEMUR platform and the engineering capabilities of our technical teams offer unique value to innovative customers such as hiSky."

Harshbir Sangha MBE, Director for Growth at the UK Space Agency, said: “It’s great to see two cutting-edge companies in the UK space sector coming together to deliver the next generation of consumer satcom services. hiSky’s development as a Satellite Virtual Network Operator could be a blueprint for how future satellite communication services are delivered. It’s testament to the strength of our sector, and the support it gets from government, that once again a game-changing innovation is being led by the UK.”

Mr. Domenico Mignolo, Head of Ground Segment Section in the Telecommunication and Integrated Application Directorate at ESA, said, "we are glad to support through the ARTES Core Competitiveness (CC) Programme such an ambitious and innovative development demonstrating a high level of integration between ground user and space segment enabling a ground network-as-a-service paradigm shift. The ARTES CC aims at strengthening the competitiveness of ESA Member States Industry and at delivering high Socio-Economic Impact by supporting activities such as this one that is led by two innovative companies.”


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