Viasat, in partnership with Safran Data Systems, is set to revolutionise the space launch industry through the deployment of InRange, a groundbreaking rocket telemetry system.
Their collaboration is aimed at accelerating the use of InRange by launch providers and spaceports, drastically improving the speed at which launch vehicle telemetry becomes commercially available.
InRange employs Viasat's global L-band satellite fleet – recently expanded with the acquisition of Inmarsat in May 2023 – to provide real-time telemetry data during launch missions. By utilising space-based communications, InRange negates the need for the traditional ground infrastructure.
This enables launch mission controllers to monitor missions' performance beyond the line of sight and eliminate the 'blackout zones' that occur when a launch vehicle moves into an area devoid of Earth-based connectivity coverage.
Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, Safran Data Systems will provide telemetry antennas, onboard transmitters, and Cortex modems to support the world-wide deployment of the InRange system.
The partnership also plans to explore various commercial models to facilitate the system's purchase and easy accessibility for launch service providers 'off the shelf'. This is a defining commercial stride for InRange, following a recent joint contract with the European Space Agency to test the system on Skyrora's sub-orbital Skylark L launch vehicle in 2024.
InRange is a key part of Viasat's wider in-orbit communications services. It aims to facilitate real-time data transfer between satellites in differing orbits, supporting a host of applications like government communications, earth observation, or climate monitoring.
Gary Lay, Vice President of Viasat's Strategic Programmes, noted, "In the last 10 years we've seen the commercial launch industry really take off with many private launch providers coming to market. Accurate telemetry is a critical part of any launch mission, so global connectivity that provides accurate, real-time data could be game changing as we continue to see rapid growth."
Lay added, "InRange is designed to give launch operators greater flexibility and reliability for their launch telemetry. This partnership with Safran is aiming to bring the service to market faster and help it become an indispensable tool for mission success."
Safran Electronics & Defense Space Director, Jean-Marie Btermier also shared his optimism, "Meeting the new needs of launch operators is our main objective at Safran Data Systems. We have been anticipating them over the last few years and are proud of the progress made with this InRange service offered jointly with Viasat."
Viasat is a global communications company focusing on enabling connectivity. For more than 35 years, Viasat has helped shape how consumers, businesses, governments and militaries around the world communicate. Today, the company is developing the ultimate global communications network to power high-quality, secure, affordable, fast connections to impact people’s lives anywhere they are - on the ground, in the air or at sea.