The Astranis payload is well below the maximum payload capacity for a Falcon 9 vehicle, translating into a performance bonus that Astranis is using to tailor the insertion orbit to the mission and propel its compact MicroGEO satellites into service sooner than with a shared ride. The MicroGEOs will be launched to a custom geostationary orbit, with the four satellites individually conducting on-orbit maneuvers to inject themselves into their orbital slots.
The four new spacecraft contain a number of upgrades to the Astranis MicroGEO satellite platform. Enhancements include increased throughput, extended mission lifetime, and higher redundancy. The four spacecraft will be mounted to a standard adapter ring, known as an ESPA-Grande, for ease of deployment.
Astranis MicroGEO satellites are 1/20th the size and 1/20th the cost of traditional GEO communications satellites. Astranis provides dedicated satellite bandwidth as a service with a lower price tag and much shorter build times, enabling broadband connectivity for people wherever and whenever they need it.
Astranis has successfully launched a test satellite into orbit and is now underway with its first commercial program—a satellite to provide broadband internet for Alaska that will more than triple the available bandwidth across the state. This satellite is now in final assembly and set for a launch in 2022.
“Buying an entire dedicated launch is a huge de-risker for us,” said John Gedmark, CEO and co-founder, Astranis. “We’re able to control our own destiny here, from a scheduling standpoint. We’re also getting an impressive amount of extra performance, getting us closer to our intended orbit and delivering service to our customers much sooner. Our plan has always been to iterate the design while scaling production to the point where we are building and launching dozens of satellites into orbit every year. By 2030 there will be more than 100 Astranis satellites in active service, connecting millions of people in underserved communities worldwide with true low-cost broadband internet access.”
Astranis is building small, low-cost, telecommunications satellites to connect the four billion people who currently do not have access to the internet. Each spacecraft operates from GEO, with a next-generation design of only 400 kg., using a proprietary software-defined radio (SDR) payload. This digital payload technology allows frequency and coverage flexibility, as well as maximum use of valuable spectrum. By owning and operating its satellites and offering them to customers as a turnkey solution, Astranis is able to provide bandwidth-as-a-service and unlock previously unreachable markets. This allows Astranis to launch small, dedicated satellites for small and medium-sized countries, Fortune 500 companies, existing satellite operators, and other customers. The company is headquartered in San Francisco with a team of over 175, including world-class engineers from SpaceX, Boeing, Skybox, Qualcomm, Apple, and Google. Astranis has raised over $350 million from top Silicon Valley and growth investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Venrock, and BlackRock.