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Audacy Launches First Demo Satellite, Audacy Zero, Into Space

 December 3, 2018

Audacy, a space communications service provider delivering anytime spacecraft connectivity, has launched its first demonstration satellite. Audacy Zero was deployed into low Earth orbit on board Spaceflight’s first fully dedicated rideshare mission, SSO-A SmallSat Express, via a SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket. The mission will validate Audacy’s Ka-band radio in space and test its first ground station in Napa Valley, California, laying the foundation for Audacy’s development of the world’s first commercial inter-satellite data relay network in 2020.

Audacy Zero features an entirely Ka-band radio designed and built by Audacy, the first of its kind to be flown on a CubeSat. It is the first iteration of Audacy’s radio that will enable customers’ spacecraft to communicate with Audacy’s relay satellite network.

Using this radio, Audacy Zero will transmit images of Earth to Audacy’s ground station in Napa Valley, California, to validate its capabilities in space. Data collected from the mission will also contribute to valuable analysis of Audacy’s hardware for continued improvements.

“We made the deliberate choice to build and launch our own satellite so that we could have a thorough understanding of the communications problems that our customers face,” said Sam Avery, Head of Spacecraft Integration at Audacy. “We will use these findings to develop our next-generation radio for space-based relays, in time for the deployment of our relay satellite constellation in 2020.”

"With this first launch, Audacy has taken another important step towards making space more accessible for everyone," added Ralph Ewig, CEO of Audacy. "As our ability to deliver real-time information continues to improve, more accurate decisions can be made every day, transforming countless lives across the globe."

Audacy Zero marks the first demonstration mission for Audacy, with two similar missions—Audacy Lynq and Audacy One—scheduled for 2019.

As a secondary payload, Audacy Zero is also carrying Stanford Student Space Initiative’s Polar Orbiting INfrared Tracking Receiver (POINTR). This optical receiver payload will test laser communications in space by acquiring and tracking a laser transmitted by NASA JPL from the ground.

Audacy is already offering communications services from its first ground station location and is also pre-selling service capacity for its relay satellite network services with a planned rollout in late 2020. Last month, Audacy announced that it had secured pre-service commercial agreements with a total value of more than US$100 million.


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