Boeing leads $10 million funding in newspace startup BridgeSat to advance satellite communications
Boeing via Boeing HorizonX Ventures, is leading a $10 million investment in a Denver-based BridgeSat, an optical communications solutions startup enabling the future of connectivity in space through a network of ground stations and proprietary space terminals. Boeing HorizonX Ventures led BridgeSat’s Series B funding round, with participation by Allied Minds. The investment and relationship with Boeing connects BridgeSat with Boeing experts, testing labs and other valuable resources to accelerate the deployment of its OGS services around the world.
Founded in 2015, BridgeSat offers small form factor laser communication terminals at a reduced price compared to equivalent RF data throughput solutions. The company is also engaged with the space industry’s laser communication terminal manufacturers to ensure compatibility with the BridgeSat ground network.
Back in March, 2018, BridgeSat announced an industry-first agreement with NASA designed to develop a commercialized laser-based free space optical communication system that could support the agency’s future missions as they transition to optical communications. The reimbursable agreement is the latest milestone in BridgeSat’s mission to revolutionize global communications with a free-space optical network for low earth orbit (LEO) satellites that’s faster and less expensive than traditional radio frequency (RF) solutions.
BridgeSat is developing a global network of optical ground stations (OGS) to transmit large amounts of data into space quickly and reliably. Its stations support low Earth orbit (LEO) and geostationary (GEO) satellite optical communications, enabling secure transmissions between satellites, other spacecraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and high-altitude aircrafts.
“This partnership will help us continue to lead the digital transition in satellites with technology that provides next-generation capabilities for our customers,” said Brian Schettler, managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Enabling BridgeSat to scale their operations accelerates secure, reliable satellite communications around the world.”
BridgeSat was formed in 2015 to address cost, bandwidth and infrastructure limitations in space-based optical communications. The company recently announced an industry-first agreement with NASA to develop a commercialized free-space optical communication system that could support the agency’s future missions.
“As we grow our OGS into a global network, this investment will help us meet the need for secure delivery of big data from LEO and GEO satellites at faster speeds, and a lower cost than traditional radio frequency solutions,” said Barry Matsumori, chief executive officer of BridgeSat.
The role of Boeing HorizonX Ventures is to target investments that help scale startup innovation in aerospace. Its portfolio is made up of companies specializing in autonomous systems, additive manufacturing, energy and data storage, advanced materials, augmented reality systems and software, machine learning, hybrid-electric and hypersonic propulsion and Internet of Things connectivity.
Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. A top U.S. exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in more than 150 countries.