Clyde Space to build cubesat for Audacy technology demonstration

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Story updated Aug. 9 to correct the number of satellites Clyde Space is building for Audacy.

LOGAN, Utah — Scotland’s Clyde Space will build a bus for a small satellite Silicon Valley startup Audacy plans to send into low Earth orbit in 2018, according to an agreement announced Aug. 8 at the Small Satellite conference here.

Audacy is seeking to establish a commercial version of NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System, which transmits communications from satellites to ground stations. With satellites in medium Earth orbit, Audacy plans to offer simultaneous access to its network for customers operating thousands of satellites, launch vehicles and human spaceflight missions.

Before establishing its operational constellation of satellites weighing hundreds of kilograms, Audacy wants to demonstrate its technology, including customer satellite terminals featuring K-band antennas and software defined radios, on the cubesat built by Clyde Space, James Spicer, Audacy chief engineer, said by email.

Craig Clark, Clyde Space chief executive, said he was delighted to win Audacy’s order because the firm has an “awesome” concept and because Audacy conducted an exhaustive review of the market before selecting Clyde Space for its demonstration mission. “I really like this win. I wanted to work with them,” Clark told SpaceNews.

In addition to building the satellite bus, Clyde Space will bring Audacy personnel into its Glasgow facility to help them design their technology demonstration mission and operate the cubesats, Clark said.

Through the demonstration mission, Audacy will support “numerous customer satellites with a range of missions and applications in multiple sectors from agriculture to disaster management,” according to the announcement.

Audacy, a company established in 2015 by co-founders who met at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, established its first ground station in San Francisco in 2017 and its second, in Singapore in 2018. As demand grows, the firm plans to build a third ground station in Luxembourg.