SAN FRANCISCO — RBC Signals, a startup creating a global network of ground stations, announced a partnership July 10 with Antrix Corp., the commercial arm of the Indian space agency ISRO, to provide space communications services to satellite operators.
Seattle-based RBC Signals works with organizations around the world to combine excess capacity in their ground networks with the firm’s own antennas. The agreement with Antrix is RBC Signals’ first with a national space agency.
Through its relationship with Antrix, RBC Signals is expanding its global network and offering new communications services, Christopher Richins, RBC Signals cofounder and chief executive, told SpaceNews.
With Antrix antennas, RBC Signals’ network will include more than 62 antennas at 41 locations across the globe. RBC Signals also will be able to provide C-, Ku-, and Ka-band communications in addition its previous offering in VHF, UHF, S-, C-, and X-bands.
Under the deal, RBC Signals gains access to large antennas, including a 32-meter-diameter dish to communicate with spacecraft performing lunar or deep space missions, Richins said. “With these national assets, we are able to support a broader set of space activities,” he added.
Prior to the pact with Antrix, RBC Signals offered communications services for low Earth and geostationary satellites.
RBC Signals is growing rapidly. The company has made a series of announcements in recent months as it forges agreements with new partners. “We are seeing expansion across the board in our team, network services and there’s more to come,” Richins said.
In addition to the added technical capacity, RBC Signals’ agreement with Antrix is important because of ISRO’s key role in the global space economy, Richins said. “This is the beginning of our relationship with a national space agency that potentially could be a customer and a partner,” he added.
Rakesh Sasibhushan, Antrix chairman and managing director, said in the announcement, “At Antrix, we are excited about gaining greater utilization of our ground station investments through the innovative business model and services being provided by RBC Signals.”
In March, RBC Signals announced an agreement with Switzerland’s SpacePharma SA to gain access to a ground station network in Courgenay, Switzerland. In April, RBC Signals announced a deal with C-CORE, a Canadian company developing a ground station for the Arctic region, to gain access to a ground station in Inuvik, Canada. In June, RBC Signals announced a memorandum of understanding with Spaceit, a firm focused on satellite operations in the cloud. That deal calls for Spaceit to integrate with RBC Signals’ global ground station network APIs, according to the June 5 announcement.