12 Sep 2018
Company is developing a network of ground stations to connect satellites and high-flying UAVs with high-speed laser links.
Boeing has confirmed its investment in BridgeSat, the Denver-based company developing a high-speed optical network for satellite communications.
Completed via the aerospace and defense giant’s “HorizonX Ventures” fund, the money forms part of a series B round led by Boeing, with earlier investor Allied Minds also taking part.
According to a September 6 filing with the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the company has to date sold $10 million in equity out of a total $15 million being offered.
“The investment and relationship with Boeing connects BridgeSat with Boeing experts, testing labs and other valuable resources to accelerate the deployment of its optical ground station services around the world,” announced the two firms in a release.
BridgeSat is developing a global network of optical ground stations capable of quickly and reliably transmitting large amounts of data directly to satellites. Its stations support both low Earth orbit (LEO) and geostationary orbit (GEO) deployments, and are said to enable secure transmissions between satellites, other spacecraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and high-altitude aircraft.
Boeing HorizonX Ventures managing director Brian Schettler said: “This partnership will help us continue to lead the digital transition in satellites with technology that provides next-generation capabilities for our customers. Enabling BridgeSat to scale their operations accelerates secure, reliable satellite communications around the world.”
Founded in 2015, BridgeSat has previously agreed a development partnership with UK-headquartered Surrey Satellite Technology (SST) to produce compact, low-cost laser terminals that will provide secure downlinks from the planned satellites.
Earlier this year the company signed what was described as an “industry-first” agreement with NASA to develop a commercial free-space optical communication system that could support the agency's future missions. That followed the opening of a network operations center in Denver to monitor and control of all operational functions, including the optical ground stations and customer payload repository.
Barry Matsumori, the BridgeSat CEO who previously worked in senior roles at Virgin Galactic and rocket builder SpaceX, said of the new venture backing: “As we grow our optical ground stations into a global network, this investment will help us meet the need for secure delivery of big data from LEO and GEO satellites at faster speeds, and a lower cost than traditional radio frequency solutions.”