The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted Audacy a license to operate the first, commercial, inter-satellite data relay network — the company will use the spectrum to provide real-time downlink, continuous monitoring and always-on command services to customers' LEO spacecraft.
The space industry spends around $10 billion USD annually on communications solutions. Currently, most satellite operators use ground antennas to communicate with their spacecraft. However, satellites are rarely visible from an individual ground site, resulting in long periods of radio silence and missed revenue opportunities. With the first license to provide commercial space-to-space data relay services, Audacy will build a relay network that provides spacecraft operators with continuous, real-time connectivity - anywhere from the launch pad to lunar distance.
Audacy is pre-selling capacity on its relay satellites in anticipation of service launch in 2020, and on its Silicon Valley and Singapore ground station teleports which will come online early in 2019.
Dr. Ralph Ewig, CEO of Audacy, said that securing commercial spectrum is one of the biggest obstacles to deploying a new satellite constellation and takes years of technical work, collaboration with regulators, and industry discussions. Every part of the proposed system is rigorously scrutinized by regulators and existing space operators. With this spectrum approval, Audacy will now fundamentally change space communications.