Honeywell and Skyloom have signed a teaming agreement that will enable satellite operators to deliver high-capacity and high-data-rate internet connectivity to users around the world. The companies will jointly develop a manufacturing facility to produce optical terminals for communications, including for ground to space, spacecraft to spacecraft and spacecraft to aircraft.
Optical communication terminals are crucial in enabling high-bandwidth communication from space to remote locations and then to connected assets. The ability to quickly connect and secure these assets is especially important to military customers. The teaming agreement will allow Honeywell and Skyloom to collaborate on quick design innovation, scalability, reliability and on-time manufacturing for their commercial and military customers.
“Fast, reliable and uninterrupted communications are an absolute necessity — especially for our military customers,” said Mark Covelli, senior director, Defense and Space, Honeywell Aerospace. “Combining our optical and space manufacturing technologies with Skyloom’s extensive expertise in optical systems and solutions creates an industry-leading team that can deliver optical communications solutions to our customers at a scale and speed that has never been seen in the industry.”
Free-space optical communication systems complement traditional radio frequency (RF) solutions, bringing the internet speeds of terrestrial fiber optics to space. Using laser technology, optical communication systems offer a much narrower and more focused beam than traditional RF links, resulting in higher data rates, more capacity, greater security and smaller, lighter, more affordable terminals.
“Skyloom was founded with the mission to develop, deploy and operate one of the fundamental pieces of tomorrow’s digital infrastructure to provide data transport services on a planetary scale,” said Marcos Franceschini, co-founder and CEO, Skyloom. “Our partnership with Honeywell will enable the next big step in global connectivity and pioneer an orbital infrastructure that will make us a true planetary society.”
Skyloom designs and builds the space-based equivalent of towers, fiber, routers and switches, enabling fiberless orbital networks. This is a highly precise and challenging task that few companies can achieve since it requires the agility of new developments, interoperability and deep understanding of space.
Honeywell and Skyloom are currently working to qualify and deliver the SDA Tranche 0 terminals, with Honeywell’s Cambridge space facility already having a fully functional, mature production line. This facility is capable of producing close to 1,000 terminals per year to cater to the various government and commercial constellation demands.
The agreement brings low-cost user terminals to the market today with the ability to scale. The solution spans all user segments, including low-Earth orbit (LEO) targeting a three-to-five year life, high-LEO with a seven-to-10 year life, and high-value, reliable and long-endurance terminals with a 10-to-15 year life in radiation-hardened spacecraft.
Honeywell Aerospace products and services are found on virtually every commercial, defense and space aircraft. The Aerospace business unit builds aircraft engines, cockpit and cabin electronics, wireless connectivity systems, mechanical components and more. Its hardware and software solutions create more fuel-efficient aircraft, more direct and on-time flights and safer skies and airports.
Honeywell is a Fortune 100 technology company that delivers industry-specific solutions that include aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings and industry; and performance materials globally. Our technologies help aircraft, buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains, and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer, and more sustainable.
Featured image credited to Honeywell