SKYTRAC Systems has confirmed that its Iridium Certus midband SATCOM (satellite communications) terminal has been selected by The Exploration Company for its Nyx orbital vehicle. The SATCOM terminal will provide data transmission from the space capsule to the ground.
Nyx is a modular, reusable, and in-orbit refuellable orbital vehicle that carries cargo and, in the future, potentially even humans. Nyx is designed for missions such as orbiting the Earth for three to six months and landing on the Moon with re-entry capability. A subscale re-entry demonstrator of Nyx will be launched into space on the maiden flight of the new Ariane 6 rocket later this year. Once in orbit, the space capsule will detach and begin re-entry back towards Earth.
The Exploration Company has selected SKYTRAC’s DLS-100 data link transceivers to be installed onboard this capsule demonstrator. Capable of real-time command and control, telemetry streaming, and photo/video transmission, the DLS-100 will enable 22 Kbps uplink speeds through the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation.
The ruggedized DLS-100 is optimized for Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) and weighs only 26.2 oz (742.8 g), making it the ideal data link system for a suite of platforms, including a space capsule. As the space capsule is an unrecoverable technology demonstrator, upon collecting and transmitting data, the capsule will impact the ocean.
Thomas Nussmann, Lead Avionics and Power at The Exploration Company, commented: “Starting at an altitude of 360 miles, the space capsule will collect a large amount of data from systems and sensors, which will be transmitted over the Iridium satellite network to the ground from SKYTRAC’s DLS-100. SKYTRAC’s ruggedized data link will provide the low latency, global, and reliable satellite connectivity the capsule requires to conduct this demonstration successfully.”
Jeff Sherwood, Director of Business Development at SKYTRAC, stated: “SKYTRAC is excited to be part of The Exploration Company’s mission to democratize space exploration with their innovative Nyx space capsule. We are proud that our DLS-100 can extend beyond traditional aviation applications to provide these global connectivity services to space-based applications.”