MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — Commercial operators have been known to share satellites, splitting the costs of building and launching a big geostationary comsat, like Kacifc and Sky Perfect JSAT did when they ordered a Boeing 702 due to launch this year.
GEOshare is trying to build on that willingness to double up by building satellites that would house communications payloads for up to five operators.
As a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, GEOShare is working to aggregate customers on a single Lockheed Martin LM2100 bus that would supply between 250 and 500 gigabits of total capacity.
“People would share a very-high-throughput satellite with separate beams serving different areas, but as a result of the economics, they will be able to get a very low gigabit-per-second [price],” GEOshare CEO Lon Levin said an interview ahead of the Satellite Innovation conference here.
Levin said GEOshare is seeing the strongest interest in an all Ka-band satellite it calls the “Mondo Condo.” Africa and the Asia-Pacific are top markets, he said, since those regions have a number of national and regional operators who may not have the financial wherewithal to operate their own very-high-throughput satellites.
Levin said GEOshare issued “indicative prices,” or nominal quotes, to more than 20 prospective customers in the lead up to last month’s World Satellite Business Week conference.
Levin wouldn’t say how soon GEOshare expects to close on its first Mondo Condo satellite, only saying that “2020 will be a milestone year for GEOshare.”
GEOshare faces competition from a growing number of manufacturers offering small geostationary satellites designed to serve smaller markets. More than half a dozen companies, including Astranis, Maxar and Saturn Satellite Networks, are designing small GEOs weighing 2,000 kilograms or less.
Levin said GEOshare satellites will be more cost-effective than small GEOs.“We are approaching the magical $1 million gigabit per second” of capacity, he said. “It’s a hard number to achieve, but we are getting close to it.”
Levin said GEOshare will arrange launches and insurance and can provide ground infrastructure to communicate with satellites it builds.
GEOshare is marketing variants of the Mondo Condo he said, including a “hybrid” version that can carry Ka- and Ku-band payloads, and a “Mondo Condo Lite” optimized for three operators to share.