Kepler Communications, Inc.
Company typePrivate
IndustryTelecommunications
Founded2015
FoundersMina Mitry, Wen Cheng Chong, Mark Michael, Jeffrey Osborne[citation needed]
HeadquartersToronto, Ontario, Canada
Websitekepler.space

Kepler Communications Inc. is a private telecommunications company based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The company's stated mission is to deliver affordable network connectivity across the globe via a growing network of small satellites.

Overview

Kepler Communications is working to build a constellation of small, shoebox-sized satellites based on the CubeSat standard to deliver connectivity to other satellites and ground-based stations, allowing for near real-time exchange of data from IoT devices, large scale data backhaul (store-and-forward) services, and ultimately command and control for other space-based assets.

The company hopes to grow their business around data backhaul services that will serve remote business operators, shippers, research stations, and entities engaged in resource exploration and gathering (mining, oil and gas) in remote locations. Their units are capable of high-bandwidth transfer, allowing them to move data that is too cumbersome for existing real-time satellite communications systems.[1]

The launch of Kepler's first satellite, KIPP, in January 2018.

Additionally, Kepler is working to establish, using the same platform of satellites, an Internet of Things (IoT) communication system that will ease the problems caused by a global disparity between established communications methods and protocols across regions (no antenna currently exists which can communicate across all existing cellular networks). This solution is designed to be a low-power, low-bandwidth, and low-cost connectivity platforms for IoT devices around the globe.

Kepler's key technology is a high-capacity, high-throughput software-defined radio (SDR) that can provide 200 MHz of bandwidth, allowing for data throughput of 500 megabits/second (Mbps) in communication speed.

Kepler Communications was founded in 2015 by four graduate students from the University of Toronto, who previously worked together on various design projects through the University of Toronto Aerospace Team. The startup was incubated at University of Toronto's Entrepreneurship Hatchery, the Creative Destruction Lab, Ryerson University's DMZ, and was part of the Techstars Seattle 2016 cohort. Kepler was able to raise $5M in a seed round financing at Techstars, and in the span of 12 months was able to take KIPP from design to orbit. In 2018, the company successfully completed their Series A financing round, raising a total of $16M USD. The round was led by Costanoa Ventures, with participation by Deutsche Bahn’s (DB) Digital Ventures as a strategic investor.

The company is named in honour of Johannes Kepler, a pioneer in the discovery of the way in which objects in space interact. He is best known for his Laws of Planetary Motion.[citation needed]

Satellites constellations

Kepler

Bearing the same name of the company, the Kepler constellation is a constellation of cubesats for Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M) and inter-satellite communications services. The first three cubesats sent in orbit served as technology demonstrator and were built in a 3U format. The first two of them (KIPP and CASE) were built by AAC Clyde Space[2] while the third (TARS) by ÅAC Microtec,[3] and they have been named after the fictitious US Marine Corps robots of the same name in the 2014 film “Interstellar”.[4] KIPP and CASE, which travel at speeds in excess of 7 kilometers per second, have software installed to compensate for Doppler shift.[5]

The operational satellites are built on a 6U format and they're based on the Spartan cubesat platform, developed by Kepler Communicaitons in cooperation with UTIAS-SFL. As of April 2023 the constellation has grown to include, in addition to the three pathfinders, 18 operational satellites.[6] Company officials have stated a goal of growing their constellation up to 140 units, all located in Sun-Synchronous polar orbits, approximately 575 km above the Earth's surface.

List of satellites
Name COSPAR Catalog N° Launch date Launch vehicle
Test satellites
Kepler 0 KIPP 2018-008D 43157 19 January 2018 Long March 11
Kepler 1 CASE 2018-096L 43729 29 November 2018 PSLV-CA
Kepler 2 TARS 2020-061AZ 46319 3 September 2020 Falcon 9 Block 5
Operational satellites
Kepler 4 Antilles 2020-068N 46499 28 September 2020 Falcon 9 Block 5
Kepler 5 Amidala 2020-068P 46498
Kepler 6 Rocinante 2021-022Z 47955 22 March 2021 Soyuz-2.1a
Kepler 7 C3PO 2021-022T 47949
Kepler 8 Amarok 2021-006BR 47476 24 January 2021 Falcon 9 Block 5
Kepler 9 Artemis 2021-006DX 47531
Kepler 10 Baby Yoda 2021-006CS 47501
Kepler 11 Daneel 2021-006CU 47503
Kepler 12 Boba 2021-006AK 47446
Kepler 13 Lucky 2021-006AT 47454
Kepler 14 Stella 2021-006DS 47526
Kepler 15 Sudormrf 2021-006BA 47461
Kepler 16 Astraeus 2022-002CB 51057 13 January 2022 Falcon 9 Block 5
Kepler 17 Karina 2022-002CD 51059
Kepler 18 Blip-A 2022-002U 51002
Kepler 19 2022-002BV 51051
Kepler 20 2022-054AR 56217 15 April 2023 Falcon 9 Block 5
Kepler 21 2023-054AS 56218

Aether

The Aether constellation is composed of data relay satellites to provide in-space real-time connectivity for orbiting spacecraft moving past the need to rely on ground stations. [7] The data network, named The Kepler Network, will be able to provide data on-demand at up to 2.5 Gigabit-per-second for the end-user through a combination of optical, S-band, and Ku-band technologies.[8] Access to the network will be granted to third-party satellites equipped with the Aether terminal, successfully validated in 2022 with customers like Spire Global having already announced their will to install the terminals on their satellites.[9][10] The first two satellites of the constellation have been launched on 11 November 2023 as part of SpaceX Transporter-9 rideshare mission.[11]

List of satellites
Name COSPAR Catalog N° Launch date Launch vehicle
Aether-1 2023-174AB 58281 11 November 2023 Falcon 9 Block 5
Aether-2 2023-174AV 58299

References

  1. ^ "Kepler Communications Inc". www.keplercommunications.com. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  2. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "KIPP, CASE (Kepler 0, 1)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  3. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "TARS (Kepler 2, IOD 5)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  4. ^ Interstellar, retrieved 2019-06-12
  5. ^ Mitry, Mina (2020). "Routers In Space". IEEE Spectrum. 57 (2): 43.
  6. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Kepler 4, ..., 21". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  7. ^ Rainbow, Jason (23 December 2021). "Kepler plots relay network to serve thousands of satellite terminals". SpaceNews.com. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  8. ^ "Kepler Selects TESAT to Provide Optical Terminals for Next Generation Constellation". SpaceRef. 8 June 2022. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  9. ^ Boucher, Mark (10 May 2022). "Spire Global to use Kepler Communications Aether-KU payload on up to 50 satellites". SpaceQ. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  10. ^ Rainbow, Jason (14 April 2022). "Kepler validates intersatellite data-relay terminal". SpaceNews.com. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  11. ^ Lentz, Danny (11 November 2023). "SpaceX Transporter 9 rideshare features new OTV from Tom Mueller's Impulse Space". NASASpaceFlight. Retrieved 11 November 2023.