Canadian satellite startup Kepler Communications raised US$ 16 million from investors to build and launch its first-generation constellation
According to an official statement, Kepler Communications, a Canada-based telecommunications company raised US$ 16 million from investors that secured funding to build and launch its first-generation constellation of around 15 satellites. The round was led by Costanoa Ventures, an early-stage tech investor fund, along with participation from Deutsche Bahn’s Digital Ventures and returning investors that included IA Ventures.
According to Jeffrey Osborne, Kepler’s co-founder and vice president of business development, the company is focused on increasing its employee strength from 20 to 40. Kepler has raised US$ 21 million in total to operate a constellation of around 140 small satellites. The company has a prototype cubesat called KIPP, which offers wideband service and a second demonstration satellite that will be launched on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in November, 2018. Kepler expects to launch its first-generation constellation in orbit in 2020 that will offer store-and-forward communications and narrowband connectivity to sensors and other devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). Store and forward works connects customers only when a satellite is passing overhead.
With one satellite in orbit, the latency for store and forward is the smallest at the poles due Kepler’s use of polar orbits. Increasing number of satellite is expected to decrease Kepler’s latency. The company further plans a second generation of 50 satellites that will be in orbit by 2021, with a full extension of 140-satellite constellation operational by the end of 2022. Kepler’s Ku-band satellite offers higher throughputs compared to 66-satellite Iridium Next constellation, which is optimized for reliable low-data-rate communications though polar orbit. Iridium Certus is a mobile satellite communications company based in the U.S. Its connectivity service based on Iridium Next, is designed to reach speeds up to 1.4 Mbps over the L-band system. The article was published in SpaceNews on October 15, 2018.