AI specialist NeuralAgent is working with Miratlas, a firm that produces instruments to characterize Earth’s atmosphere, to develop an algorithm to help optical data travel between satellites and the ground. Credit: NeuralAgent

SAN FRANCISCO – German startup NeuralAgent GmbH is joining forces with French startup Miratlas SAS to address a vexing problem for satellite optical communications: transmitting data through Earth’s atmosphere.

Under a memorandum of understanding announced Dec. 16, NeuralAgent and Miratlas will “build a predictive and robust networking capability for optical communications under atmospheric constraints,” NeuralAgent CEO Onur Deniz told SpaceNews by email.

Clouds, rain, fog and other weather conditions can interfere with the transfer of optical data between satellites and ground stations. To address the problem, NeuralAgent and Miratlas are developing an AI-based technique to predict atmospheric conditions and determine the optimal paths for optical data.

“We can bring another solution to laser communication problems,” said Deniz, who previously served as digitalization vice president for APWorks GmbH, an Airbus subsidiary. “This predictive solution is also an essential element to dynamic aerial networks in the sky and multi-domain systems.”

NeuralAgent was founded in 2021 to provide artificial intelligence-bases software for communications networks. Miratlas has designed and manufactured instruments that characterize Earth’s atmosphere for optical communications since 2018.

“This partnership between a French and a German company is a model for pan-European space collaboration between two startups operating in adjacent segments of a burgeoning high-tech industry where Europe leads the rest of the world: optical-laser communications,” Dirk Hoke, former Airbus Defense and Space CEO, said in a statement. Hoke joined NeuralAgent as a board member and strategic advisor in early 2022.

“With a common vision and complementary technologies, we’re excited to be working with NeuralAgent to speed up the adoption of direct-to-Earth optical coms and the extension of the terrestrial network infrastructure into space to support future constellations bandwidth requirement,” Frédéric Jabet, Miratlas chief technology officer, said in a statement. “Routing is one of the most important problematic of Free Space Optical constellations for it handles the uncertainties introduced by the ever changing medium. With this collaboration, we will be able to have the atmosphere taken into account by smart routing algorithms, the loop is closed.”

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...