Chris Biddy, Co-founder and CEO
Launch opportunities have significantly improved in recent years, paving the way for the NewSpace era and the entry of new players in this field. Start-ups are bringing innovative technologies and solutions to this exciting growing market. The investment community has taken notice and is actively supporting these innovative companies perusing NewSpace market opportunities. The emphasis is on developing innovative, cost-effective technology and service solutions that help organizations utilize innovative NewSpace platforms and infrastructure to implement their targeted technology and solutions. By working with NewSpace infrastructure and platform technology companies, these organizations can traverse the complicated space landscape, which is marred by even more complex regulations and licensing aspects, let alone the technology. Even though there has been significant innovation in the market, few have been able to bring cost-effective and timely solutions like Astro Digital.
Santa Clara-based Astro Digital provides an array of bundled technology solutions and services to its diverse group of clients. The satellite infrastructure supports new constellations and new applications in remote sensing, communications, and orbit manufacturing. “We are leveraging our experience and innovation on the technology side along with our experience in working with launch vehicle providers, ground station providers, and working through regulatory licensing,” says Chris Biddy, Cofounder and CEO. “We offer a holistic solution to our customers on a really fast timeline to help them go to market very quickly and efficiently.”
The Corvus Satellite Platform is Astro Digital’s collection of satellite subsystems, intentionally designed to be modular and flexible to support multiple missions. The company has developed a set of technology and internal subsystem technology, including communication systems utilized throughout its multiple satellite platforms.
Industry-leading, efficient, highspeed data communication devices that are developed in-house are a crucial Corvus Platform enabler. Although high-speed data communication has many use cases, it is especially useful for remote sensing missions.
On the services side, Astro Digital has built up a cost-effective flight operations capability that’s efficient and provides customers with a turnkey space-based infrastructure solution, enabling them to put all of their focus and efforts into their particular sensor payload or service.
Since delivering space-based infrastructure solutions is multi-faceted, Astro Digital continuously works with an engaged partner network. This enables the company to seamlessly support the launch, ground segment, and regulatory requirements to provide technology solutions that include full turnkey mission solutions delivered as a service that fits a client’s needs. For example, Astro Digital regularly works with regulatory bodies to get space missions and usage of radio spectrum authorized, reducing as well as removing the need for its customer to navigate regulatory and licensing issues.
Astro Digital’s growing team has a lot of experience and knowledge of “smallsat” technology. “We’ve lived through the growth of cubeSats and micro sats, and participated from the early days,” says Biddy. “We have a ton of experience and technology in our portfolio, and there are a lot of ways to use that technology flexibly.” That’s why when a potential client is looking to launch a new type of service using satellites, they’ll approach Astro Digital with a payload that they have developed. Astro will then integrate the client payload into an appropriate Astro Digital satellite platform so that it is ready for launch. When engaged as a full turnkey mission solution provider, Astro will also facilitate the launch of that satellite with customer payload integrated on the Satellite. Additionally, Astro also performs flight operations to deliver the sensor data or service from the constellation enabling a client’s activity in space.
Through such missions, the company has been growing the business, both in terms of footprint and headcount. Astro Digital aims to support a large and growing customer base through technology and infrastructure investments. Biddy stresses that the team is actively working on their newest generation of communication systems and growing their buses to a bit larger offering which includes higher power solution. There are plans to make significant investments to improve flight operations capability to bring in more autonomous operations, increasing the contact time between the satellites and the ground stations, thereby increasing the data rates for the telemetry and command services.