Americas Asia-Pacific EMEA
Satellite Innovation



Ball Collaborates with Honeywell for Optical Communication Datalinks

April 16, 2018

Ball Aerospace is collaborating with Honeywell to develop and produce high-performance, high-reliability Optical Communication DataLinks that enable satellite operators to deliver affordable, high-capacity, high-data rate connectivity to users around the world. 

Using value-engineering, design-for-manufacturing practices and a combined 60 years of experience in optical communications, Ball Aerospace and Honeywell will establish volume production of optical terminals for high-speed communications from ground to space, spacecraft to spacecraft and spacecraft to aircraft.

"Ball and Honeywell are leveraging their respective strengths to collaboratively develop advanced optical terminals for inter-satellite links," said Brad Tousley, vice president, strategic technology development and commercial aerospace business, Ball Aerospace. "Our team's strong, proven capabilities in developing and manufacturing precision space-based optical systems will ensure the success of future low-earth-orbit constellations."

Since the 1990s, Ball Aerospace and Honeywell have combined their knowledge and expertise on various optical communications capabilities. This new collaboration provides a unique North American solution for commercial and U.S. government markets. The optical communication terminals are manufactured entirely from American-sourced parts, assuring secure solutions for critical domestic missions.

"Working with Ball Aerospace, combining our optical and space manufacturing technologies with Ball's extensive expertise in optical systems and solutions, creates a powerful world-class team to enable the transition of space communications into the optical communications era," said Marina Mississian, senior director Space Payloads, Honeywell Aerospace.

Free-space optical communication systems provide an innovative complement to traditional radio frequency (RF) solutions, bringing the Internet speeds of terrestrial fiber optics to space. Using laser technology, optical communication systems offer a much narrower and more focused beam than traditional RF links, resulting in higher data rates, more capacity, greater security and smaller, lighter and more affordable terminals.