US: Capella Space has entered into an agreement with Addvalue, a one-stop digital, wireless and broadband communications technology products innovator, for use of its Inter-Satellite Data Relay System (IDRS™) via Inmarsat’s global L-Band satellite communications network. The Inmarsat network provides satellite uplink and downlink services, which enable Capella to task any satellite in its constellation in any location in the world in real-time. Through its agreement with Addvalue, Capella will have a significant market lead as the only Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) provider with real-time tasking capability. This unique partnership will position Capella as the only SAR operator capable of real-time responsiveness.
Lightweight Addvalue terminals on Capella satellites will drastically reduce the time required to order and deliver high-resolution imagery from anywhere in the world. Addvalue’s IDRS will keep Capella’s constellation of 36 SAR micro-satellites in constant contact with Inmarsat’s award-winning global L-Band network, enabling two-way, secure and fast IP-based connectivity.
Unlike traditional time-consuming ordering processes that rely on legacy systems such as fax machines, Capella customers will use a web application to instantly log and verify tasking requests routed through the Inmarsat network. Details of the imaging request — e.g., the location, time and frequency of revisit — will be forwarded through the network to the next available satellite, which will maneuver to complete the task and return an image and metadata to Capella’s ground station network within minutes of acquisition.
“In a world where you can send an email in seconds, it should not take up to eight hours to task a satellite and receive the data. This bottleneck doesn’t meet today’s business standards,” said Payam Banazadeh, CEO and founder of Capella Space. “Capella is committed to transforming how Earth imaging companies do business by delivering the most timely, reliable and flexible access to global insights. With our access to the largest network of ground station operators via AWS Ground Station, deploying our data directly into the cloud, and this partnership with Addvalue and Inmarsat to offer real-time tasking and image relay, our customers will enjoy the fastest reactivity in the market.”
Traditionally, Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite operators uplink orders using ground infrastructure, which can only connect to satellites when they pass over a ground station in the network. As a result, constellation operators can’t rapidly task satellites, resulting in significant delays between image ordering and delivery.
Inmarsat operates a geostationary network 36,000 kilometers above the Earth, providing global coverage through the strategic placement of far fewer satellites and a well-established ground network infrastructure. With IDRS providing real-time 24/7 access to Inmarsat’s communication satellite network, Capella can uplink customer orders to task satellites within minutes instead of the industry average of four to eight hours.
“The unrivaled communications capability of IDRS will significantly improve the operational efficiency of Capella’s multi-satellite constellation,” said Dr. Colin Chan, chairman and CEO of Addvalue. “This contract reaffirms the unique value of IDRS, and we strongly believe IDRS will continue to disrupt the way future commercial, governmental as well as research low Earth orbit satellite constellations are operated. We are fully committed to ensuring its successful delivery as we continue to grow our IDRS customer base.”
“Inmarsat has been leading the world in mobile satellite communications for 40 years,” said Todd McDonell, president of global government at Inmarsat. “Our reliability across air, land and sea has been proven across multiple satellite fleet generations, and we are delighted to be delivering this same reliable service to help operators such as Capella manage their spacecraft in real-time.
Access to Inmarsat’s global network provides Capella with a unique proposition in terms of both service delivery and fleet management. This adoption of IDRS technology shows that Capella is leading the way in delivering timely and reliable Synthetic Aperture Radar imagery, providing substantial value to a broad range of commercial and government organizations around the world.”