Sony establishes newco for space optical communications

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Image credit: Image credit: Les Ey

Sony Corporation of America (SCA), has formed a new company, Sony Space Communications Corporation (SSC), to conduct space optical communications.

According to Kyohei Iwamoto, president of the new company, it has been set up to help alleviate the problem that the data used in space is increasing at a rapid pace, with tens of thousands of satellites and counting, while the amount of available radio waves remains limited.

He explained: ‘Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites need to communicate with the ground, so a large number of communications facilities are required for real-time communications, which is problematic because these satellites must pass directly over a ground station to communicate with it. Additionally, the need for frequency licences for radio waves and the requirement for lower power consumption of communication equipment needed by smaller satellites, like micro satellites, are also issues to be addressed.’

In light of this backdrop, SSC plans to develop small optical communications devices to provide related services to connect micro satellites in LEO via a laser beam. It will offer this optical communications equipment as a service to companies working on satellite development. By using optical communications, SSC aims to realise high-speed communications with small devices, which are physically difficult to achieve with conventional radio communications because conventional communications require large antenna and high power output. 

In addition, by constructing an optical communications network not only between satellites and the ground, but also between satellites in orbit, SSC aims to enable real-time communications from anywhere on the ground to any satellite in space. Optical communications are also easier to implement than traditional radio frequency communications as they do not require the certain types of licences that radio communication needs.

In doing so the company aims to increase the amount of communications in space and realise an internet communications network covering the earth, space, and applications such as real-time services.

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