General Atomics' electromagnetic systems business and Airbus Group's Tesat-Spacecom subsidiary agreed to jointly develop free-space optical communication terminals intended for defense and intelligence missions.
The partnership will focus on developing Space-based Laser Communication Terminals to address specific mission requirements of U.S. government customers under a memorandum of understanding, General Atomics said Tuesday.
Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS, said laser-based communications technology works to facilitate connectivity that goes beyond traditional radio frequency limitations.
Forney added the alliance seeks to combine General Atomics' experience in laser systems development and Tesat's expertise in space-based lasercomm technology.
“We'll leverage the advances we've made over the years to develop and deploy smaller, lighter and more capable SB-LCT payloads that enable space to space, space to air, and space to ground laser communications for reliable coverage worldwide,“ said Nick Bucci, vice president of GA-EMS' space and missile defense systems division.
Tesat currently supports operational space-based systems such as the SpaceData Highway, European Data Relay Service and Copernicus Program.