TAMPA, Fla. — One-year-old Californian startup AnySignal emerged from stealth mode Oct. 16 with $5 million in funding behind a multi-purpose space radio platform.
AnySignal’s kit works across multiple spectrum bands, chief operating officer and co-founder Jeffrey Osborne told SpaceNews, and comes with ground equipment for hardware-in-the-loop tests, modems that can be upgraded for different waveforms, licensing support, and software that enables the radio to interface with various flight systems.
The Los Angeles-area venture hopes its focus on end-to-end customer products will give it an advantage over incumbent radio providers such as L3Harris Technologies, an aerospace and defense giant that made more than $22 billion last year.
An L3Harris spokesperson said there are more than 180 of its AppSTAR software-defined radio platforms currently on orbit, and the company provides the ground segments for many of them.
But while traditional primes also provide end-to-end services, Osborne said AnySignal aims to optimize performance and lower costs by tightly integrating its offering, which unlike many larger competitors has not been formed through acquisitions.
“Think of SpaceX versus ULA,” he said, “where the former has vertically integrated and built their business from the ground up versus the latter which is far more [siloed] and how that has evolved in terms of differentiation and market leadership.”
John Malsbury, AnySignal’s CEO, is a former SpaceX engineer who helped manage signal processing development for its rockets, Starshield military product line, Starlink communications network, and Dragon 2 space capsule, according to AnySignal’s news release that announced its funding Oct. 16.
Osborne, who also co-founded Canadian small satellite operator Kepler Communications, said AnySignal’s radio is set to fly for the first time in November with a customer onboard SpaceX’s Transporter 9 rideshare mission.
The radio is manifested on follow-on Transporter missions, he added, and is also flying on hypersonic vehicles next year under test programs.
AnySignal’s software-defined radio platform has a dual-antenna global navigation satellite system receiver, and is compatible with ultra-high frequencies (UHF), S-band, L-band, and X-band.
Frequencies across these spectrum bands are used for a variety of applications in space, ranging from Earth observation downlinks to communications between two in-orbit spacecraft. The radio is not compatible with high-speed Ka-band and Ku-band broadband spectrum.
The company also offers more basic services such as antenna placement and cable routing support. AnySignal says these services are geared toward young space companies with limited resources.
Osborne said AnySignal is already generating revenue from a mix of commercial and government customers.
He said the venture plans to expand a team of eight full-time employees to around 15 by the end of this year, and about 30 by summer.
The company mainly aims to expand its engineering and sales teams to increase production and environmental testing capacity, improve security compliance to meet Department of Defense contracting requirements, and seed development of additional products.
Venture capital firm Blueyard Capital led AnySignal’s seed funding round, joined by early-stage investors First In, Also Capital, Acequia Capital, and Caffeinated Capital.