The Israeli satellite communications company hiSky has established a UK company called hiSkySat, based in London, with an R&D center at Harwell to develop a satellite communications network management system (NMS) and operation center.
The UK Space Agency provided £9 million (approx. $11.3 million) of funding for hiSky to develop cutting-edge space telecoms technology at the Harwell Space Cluster, which is growing fast and already home to more than 90 space companies.
hiSky aims to be the world’s first low-cost satellite network operator, bringing innovative technology to voice and data satellite communications, and leveraging existing satellite capacity to reduce costs associated with building and launching new satellites.
Part of the new project will integrate and develop 5G networks into their ‘Smartellite’ satellite receiving terminal and carry out a demonstration to show how it can connect seamlessly between different satellites and operators. This will help roll out the next generation of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, connecting machines and vehicles around the world and enabling remote monitoring of infrastructure such as power lines and wind turbines.
“The UK government’s modern Industrial Strategy and commitment to the European Space Agency are bringing innovative companies like OneWeb, SatixFy and hiSky to Britain,” said UK Science Minister Chris Skidmore. “Our world-leading universities, modern regulatory environment, growing R&D spend and support for UK spaceports make this a great place to build a space business and create the high-skilled jobs of the future.”
The UK Space Agency funding is allocated through the European Space Agency (ESA). This is targeted to support the development of hiSky’s satellite receiving terminals, operations and management software for the devices and to help establish hiSky as a Virtual Network Operator – a supplier of network services using existing infrastructure – in the UK.
“We are honored to be partners with the UK Space Agency,” said hiSky CEO Shahar Kravitz. “It is our privilege to establish the first real low-cost global Virtual Satellite Network and to do it in the UK. hiSky’s cutting-edge technology and solution was developed in order to meet with the consumers needs and can easily adjust to different satellite operators, including forthcoming Low Earth Orbit telcoms constellations.
“The UK Space Agency and Department for International Trade have been very supportive of our technology and our concept from the beginning. We are grateful for the chance given to us and look forward to growing within the UK,” Kravitz added.
Earlier this month, the government announced ambitious plans for the UK to lead the new space age, including further support to enable small satellite launch and the creation of a new National Space Council to strengthen UK space strategy.