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Mynaric selected for DARPA laser space-comms project

11 Aug 2022

Munich-based, Nasdaq-listed firm is focused on laser communications for air / space / mobile applications.

Laser communications company Mynaric has been selected as a key development partner to create a benchtop model of an optical communications terminal as part of Phase 1 of the Space-based adaptive communications node – Space-BACN – program of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The Space-BACN program envisions a low-cost, scalable optical communications terminal that could be reconfigured to work with various optical intersatellite link standards allowing seamless communication among government and private-sector proprietary satellites.

The announcement follows the selection of Mynaric to participate in the Space-BACN program’s Phase 0 at the end of last year and represents the company’s continued success with U.S. government clients that are a driving force for the deployment of space-based, optical communication capabilities.

‘Adaptable solution’

“Our long-standing goal to develop and manufacture scalable, cost-effective and industrialized optical communications terminals is well aligned with the objectives of DARPA’s Space-BACN program,” commented Joachim Horwath, CTO of Mynaric.

He added, “Providing an adaptable solution that can operate with any other terminal irrespective of an implemented laser communications standard and without compromising on performance and affordability is an important technical challenge. It’s a task we are more than happy to tackle for DARPA and that we consider as crucial for the development of future products.”

The 14-month Phase 1 of the Space-BACN program follows the 15-week Phase 0, which was focused on developing the architectural design of the terminal. Additionally, it precedes the 20-month Phase 2, which aims to build a prototype version of the future product.

“Laser communications is widely considered as the emerging backbone and the optical fiber equivalent for space-based communication networks,” commented Tina Ghataore, CCO of Mynaric. “Unleashing the full utility of these networks will require seamless integration and interoperability between optical communication architectures of governmental and commercial customers.”

Mynaric says it is “is pushing the industry with an aggressive product development and engineering roadmap” with industrialized products that reduce size, weight, power and cost without compromising performance.

Its  Condor Mk3 optical communications terminal offers configurable data rate speeds between 100 Mbps and 100 Gbps, delivering higher speeds based on the mission and ensuring compatibility with the Space Development Agency’s interoperability standard among others.

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