Catapult to speed up the launch of Kepler’s Global Data Service with a new satellite

Kepler has been awarded the 5th In-Orbit Demonstration Mission (IOD 5) by the Satellite Applications Catapult, a UK space innovation company, to develop its third and last demonstration satellite. This satellite will form a service demonstration for Kepler’s Global Data Service, a pole-to-pole wideband satellite communications service, while also providing a demonstration platform for the company’s IoT offering. The satellite is planned to launch in the latter half of 2019.

Kepler’s Global Data Service, the world’s only pole-to-pole wideband satcom service, allow customers to move large quantities of data globally. Thanks to the generous support that will come through the IOD 5 mission, Kepler will be launching a third satellite to extend the capabilities of its Global Data Service.

This third satellite, named TARS, will build upon the technology demonstration capabilities provided by Kepler’s first two satellites KIPP and CASE. KIPP was launched this past January and is now starting to deliver proof-of-concept services for Kepler’s Global Data Service. CASE will be joining its sister on-orbit later this summer, adding to Kepler’s demonstration capabilities.

In addition to providing a service demonstration of Global Data Service, TARS will provide a technology demonstration platform for Kepler’s narrowband Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity solution. Seamless connectivity remains a challenge for many IoT developers, solution providers, businesses, and governments alike whose needs are still largely unmet despite advancements in wireless technology. Although terrestrial wireless infrastructure remains widespread, variations in frequency bands and network technology create challenges when solution providers seek to deliver globally-connected products.

“KIPP and CASE have laid the technical foundation for our Global Data Service, but considerable improvements were needed on the satellite side in order to transition from a technology demonstration into a true service. This is where our third satellite TARS comes into play supported through the IOD-5 programme,” says Jeffrey Osborne, one of Kepler’s co-founders and VP of Business Development. As he explains, “In addition to serving it’s primary mission as a service demonstration for Global Data Service, TARS will also be tasked as a technology demonstration platform for our future IoT service offering. Central to Kepler’s strategy is always keeping an eye towards our future target markets, while ensuring that we are delivering revenue-generating services today.”

Through this partnership with the Catapult, Kepler will also be establishing new technology and distribution partnerships in the UK, integrating the company within the UK supply chain. Kepler will also be establishing its first European presence, initially with a sales and distribution facility in the UK.

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