KSAT operates ground stations around the globe including the world's largest commercial ground station in Svalbard, Norway. Credit: KSAT

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California – Kongsberg Satellite Services and Tesat-Spacecom signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on optical communications technology.

The move signals KSAT’s commitment to an open standard, Katherine Monson, KSAT business development director, said Oct. 9 at Satellite Innovation 2018 here. “Being able to build on a shared infrastructure is what allows the industry to harness innovation and scale sustainably,” Monson told SpaceNews.

KSAT of Norway owns and operates a global network of satellite ground stations and offers Earth observation services. Tesat, an Airbus Defense and Space subsidiary based in Germany, manufactures satellite telecommunications payloads and laser communications technology. Tesat built the laser terminals for Europe’s SpaceDataHighway, a constellation of satellites that optically transfer Earth observation imagery to ground stations.

Many companies are developing optical communications systems to increase the amount of data they can move between spacecraft and from spacecraft to ground stations. For optical communications to work, both the space and ground segments must work together.

KSAT released news of the agreement on the employment website Linkedin.

“KSAT has signed an MOU with Tesat-Spacecom on close cooperation in the optical domain,” the post read. “By joining forces KSAT will realize a global optical downlink service supporting Tesat’s World of #Lasercommunication terminals.”

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...