Monday, February 05, 2018

Nextologies Provides Telemetry, Tracking and Control (TT&C) station For Kepler Satellite

          By Brian Orlotti

On January 15th, Toronto, ON based satellite-maker Kepler Communications launched its first satellite into orbit aboard a Chinese Long March 11 rocket.

It's cold in Markham in the winter. The Kepler TT&C rooftop station. Photo c/o Kepler Communications.

Now Kepler has credited the success of the mission to a partnership developed with Markham ON based Nextologies, a provider of fibre, IP and satellite transmission services which supplied the "much-needed" telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C) station, used to establish and maintain contact with the Kepler satellite.

The January 29th, 2018 Kepler Communications press release, "A Shared Victory!" goes into more detail. According to the press release:
The rooftop space, including network and power access provided by Nextologies, has proven to be key in establishing communications with KIPP; our first satellite in orbit and the first commercial Ku-band nanosatellite ever launched in low earth orbit (LEO). 
Our TT&C station can do everything from tracking to controlling spacecraft through commands that prompt specific behaviors. This is especially crucial in the early days of spacecraft on-orbit, also known as “Launch and Early Operation” for commissioning all the subsystems on-board (e.g. a stable attitude control system).
The station was critical in the first week of the satellites orbit, where downloading of logs and analysis of on-board data allowed Kepler’s staff to verify the health of all on-board systems.

The satellite being tracked, named KIPP after the robot assistant in Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film "Interstellar" is a nano-satellite built for Kepler by Scottish firms Clyde Space and Bright Ascension. The satellite is the first of a planned constellation of 140 spacecraft which will serve as a high-speed communications backbone in low-earth orbit (LEO).

KIPP is the first commercial LEO spacecraft to operate in the Ku-band; a highly sought-after frequency band for satellite communications, including other planned constellations from SpaceX and others. Kepler’s first customers for its new service are expected to come from the Canadian maritime and mining sectors.

According to its website, Nextologies provides "fibre, IP and satellite transmission services for a wide range of clientele worldwide. It is a partner of the Ethnic Channels Group Limited."

Two Canadian startups working together to build space infrastructure and stake a Canadian claim to the opening space frontier. Canadians’ pioneering spirit lives on.
Brian Orlotti.

Brian Orlotti is a regular contributor to the Commercial Space blog.

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