This is an artist's rendering of one of Capella Space's synthetic aperture radar satellites. In orbit, Capella satellites are designed to unfurl an antenna made of a flexible, foldable material. Credit: Capella Space

WASHINGTON – Addvalue Innovation, a subsidiary of Addvalue Technologies of Singapore, delivered its first commercial Inter-satellite Data Relay System (IDRS) terminal to Capella Space, a San Francisco company developing a constellation of synthetic aperture radar satellites. Then, Capella ordered six additional IDRS terminals for delivery early next year, Addvalue announced Oct. 22 at the 2019 International Astronautical Congress here.

“It is a big deal to us because it is the first time we are putting the IDRS terminal into commercial use,” Tan Khai Pang, Addvalue chief technology and chief operating officer, told SpaceNews. “People think it is workable, which is why they are buying more.”

Addvalue developed the IDRS terminal, which weighs about one kilogram, with Inmarsat to send data through the satellite fleet operator’s L-band constellation. Addvalue and Inmarsat intend to create a commercial communications network that offers satellite operators “on-demand, uninterrupted communications” with satellites in low Earth orbit, Tan said.

Capella plans to rely on the IDRS terminals to speed up satellite tasking. Capella is preparing to launch the first of 36 synthetic aperture radar satellites in the first quarter of 2020.

“With Addvalue terminals, Capella will be the first satellite imagery provider with real-time tasking,” Payam Banazadeh, Capella CEO and founder, said in a statement. “Capella’s mission is centered upon transformative delivery of Earth imagery, fueling real-time global insights.”

Colin Chan Kum Lok, Addvalue’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement, “The successful delivery of the first flight IDRS terminal to Capella Space is a major accomplishment in Addvalue’s history … It is with great pride that we announce this very significant milestone, which marks the commencement of our IDRS system commercialization.”

Addvalue sells IDRS terminals as well as airtime on Inmarsat’s L-band network to operators of satellites in low Earth orbit.

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...