CommStar Space Communications™ LLC, (“CommStar Space”) will deploy an advanced, proprietary data relay satellite (“CommStar-1”) to be located between the Earth and the Moon by 2023.
CommStar Space’s decision to deploy CommStar-1 is a major step by the private sector in accelerating the transition of the government out of building and operating taxpayer-funded communications infrastructure in favor of a new role as customer. Serving as an advanced network access point located in the Cislunar service area, CommStar-1 will be capable of receiving and relaying both optical and radio frequency communications between the Moon and the Earth.
CommStar-1 will provide active, “always on,” advanced data services over the more than 225,000-mile distance but will be situated closer to the Moon, i.e., 41,632 miles. CommStar-1 relay infrastructure will be designed as a hybrid system for both radio frequency and optical (laser) communications. CommStar-1 will be a larger communications platform than anything currently contemplated to be located on the lunar surface or in orbit around the Moon, with significant space, weight, and power (“SWaP”) dedicated for enhanced relay data transmission.
Customers of CommStar-1 can design their lunar payloads for higher speed connectivity and robust bandwidth capacity on their platforms while avoiding the critical trade-offs of costly “SWaP” dedicated solely for ultra-long-haul communications. These returned benefits will allow critical “Price per LB to Space” costs to be reallocated away from solely communications to more valuable tasks.
CommStar Space seeks a new type of communications satellite to serve the anticipated needs of government and commercial ventures out of LEO, into the Cislunar space, to the Moon, and ultimately, beyond. CommStar-1 is designed to be the first such satellite in a family of similar systems.
Service Objective: A space-based Cislunar Network Access Point (C-NAP) with unique proprietary onboard capabilities located at a stable, diverse placement location visually accessible from multiple space communications locations and platforms, e.g. Cislunar, GEO, Moon, and with additional family of satellites deployed, Deep Space. Its primary purpose is to serve as a hybrid data communications relay between space-based platforms – Cislunar, Moon – and customer locations on the Earth, e.g., 2023.
Fletcher Brumley, President of CommStar Space Communications, said the company intends to mark another milestone in humankind’s journey off planet by stating its intention to be the first privately-funded space communications and navigation system, CommStar-1, specifically for commercial and government users on and around the Moon. The CommStar Space Team and its international consortium members, vendors, and future customers are excited about this new opportunity to participate in humankind’s next great chapter – its expansion beyond low Earth orbit and return to the Moon.
A key industrial partner of the CommStar Space consortium is the design and build vendor of the satellite. To that end, CommStar Space has entered a Letter of Intent with Thales Alenia Space for the design of its advanced hybrid satellite (RF & Optical). This satellite is intended to be the first such satellite in a family of systems, privately owned and operated, to be deployed to serve as the primary relay infrastructure for space and lunar communications between the Moon and the Earth.
CommStar-1 will have the ability to perform several data management missions, RF or Optical, between the Earth and the Moon. In the UK, Thales Alenia Space will lead the design team, drawing upon more than 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and partnerships with affiliates and industrial partners from across Europe. CommStar Space’s service partners will also participate in the design of CommStar-1 to ensure interoperability with their terrestrial and space-based networks.
Nigel Towers, Head of Strategy, Marketing and Sales at Thales Alenia Space UK, said the company is excited by the opportunity to offer their combined capabilities in telecommunications and deep space missions to provide satellites for this innovative Cislunar Service offering from CommStar Space.