Aalyria Spacetime is a software platform designed to orchestrate networks across land, sea, air and space. Credit: Aalyria

WASHINGTON – Aalyria announced a European Space Agency contract Dec. 5 to develop an orchestration system for space-based, airborne, maritime and ground-based nodes.

The value of the award, funded by the UK Space Agency, was not disclosed.

Aalyria is establishing a European business headquarters based in London to oversee the work on orchestration systems for 5G and 6G terrestrial and nonterrestrial networks.

Aalyria, a spinoff from Google parent company Alphabet, has attracted U.S. and international government and commercial customers for its Spacetime networking technology and Tightbeam optical communications technology. ESA is the first international space agency customer Aalyria has announced.

Expanding Aalyria’s international business is important because “we are creating a new universal connectivity fabric. That means planetary connectivity, not just state borders,” Chris Taylor, Aalyria founder and CEO, told SpaceNews by email.

Constant Motion

Aalyria’s networking technology stems from Loon, an Alphabet subsidiary focused on providing wireless connectivity through balloons. Since spinning off from Alphabet in 2021, Aalyria has continued to develop technology for hybrid networks that include satellites and high-altitude platforms.

“Stitching together these assets has proven difficult in the past because, as opposed to fixed, terrestrial ones, non-terrestrial assets are in constant motion relative to the Earth, one another, and potential users – and have traditionally relied on bespoke orchestration systems that are not built for interoperability,” according to the news release.

Under the new ESA contract, Aalyria will develop an asset management and orchestration platform that will be available for ESA partners at the European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications at the UK’s Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.

Aalyria and ESA will work together to identify and test enhancements to the Open Radio Access Network Alliance’s standardized Radio Access Network management interfaces. The goal is to develop an orchestration system that can support a variety of applications including maritime connectivity, roaming between satellite and terrestrial assets, in-flight connectivity and connected vehicles.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...