Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Sony Group Corp. has announced the formation of Sony Space Communications Corporation, targeting space optical communications, specifically for satellite-delivered internet.
The company says the path of communication between low orbit earth (LEO) satellites and ground facilities is too complex so it hopes to resolve logistical issues by developing small optical communications devices to provide IP related services to connect micro satellites in LEO via a laser beam. SSC plans to offer this optical communications equipment as a service to companies working on satellite development.
“Currently there are approximately 12,000 satellites in space, and the number is expected to increase in the future. The amount of data used in orbit is also increasing year by year, but the amount of available radio waves is limited,” said Kyohei Iwamoto, president, Sony Space Communications Corporation.
“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 licenses 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.”
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 licenses that radio communication needs.
By providing easy-to-use inter-satellite communications capabilities, SSC says it “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.”