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Saturn offers Nationsat, small geostationary communications satellites. Credit: Saturn Satellite Networks.

SAN FRANCISCO – Switzerland-based additive manufacturing specialist Swissto12 announced plans Sept. 8 to collaborate with Saturn Satellite Networks, a U.S. firm focused on small geostationary satellite missions, to market small geostationary telecommunications satellite missions.

“There is a lot of opportunity in MicroGEO satellites which is currently not addressed,” Swissto12 CEO Emile de Rijk said in a statement. “Combining best-of-breed payload and platform solutions through this cooperation enables missions that can truly handle the performance and cost challenges of smaller missions in GEO while mitigating the risks of space.”

Under the agreement, the companies will pair Swissto12’s flexible communications payload with three Saturn satellite buses: MicroGEO, Intelligent Space Node (ISN) and Nationsat.

SWISSto12 will market geostationary telecommunications satellites based on Saturn’s MicroGEO, which provides payload power of approximately 2,000 kilowatts.

Saturn will market geostationary telecommunications and high throughput satellites based on ISN and Nationsat, which are designed to offer power of approximately 5,000-kilowatts.

“This cooperation with SWISSto12 strengthens our mission to provide robust and affordable satellite platforms for nations lacking the resources for affordable space-based services using a national asset,” Saturn CEO Thomas Choi said in a statement. “We are very pleased to work with SWISSto12 to bring novel designs using flight-proven technologies and innovative solutions to our customers.”

The two companies intend to attract customers replacing fixed and broadcast satellites or preparing to offer high throughput service regionally or globally in frequencies ranging from C-band to Q/V-band.

MicroGEO, for example, could be coupled with a Swissto12 payload and launched as a rideshare to geostationary transfer orbit to provide an economical space segment, Kevin Reyes, Swissto12 vice president of business development, told SpaceNews by email.

Saturn has not yet launched its first Nationsat, a digital platform for small geostationary satellites based on NovaWurks HISats, identical modules that feature all the basic satellite components including power, data processing and pointing. Saturn has completed a preliminary design review of Nationsat, which customers could purchase or lease for launch approximately 28 months from contract signing, Reyes said.

Saturn purchased 30 percent of NovaWurks in 2019 and obtained an option to buy the remaining 70 percent. The two companies maintain a close relationship, Reyes said.


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