Sony targets space communications with new company
The Japanese electronics giant has – via its Sony Corporation of America (SCA) subsidiary – formed a new company, Sony Space Communications Corporation (SSC), to conduct space optical communications.
SSC plans to develop small optical communications devices to provide related services to connect micro satellites in LEO via a laser beam.
"Currently there are approximately 12,000 satellites in space, and the number is expected to increase in the future. The amount of data used in orbit is also increasing year by year, but the amount of available radio waves is limited," says Kyohei Iwamoto, President, Sony Space Communications Corporation in a press release explaining the background to the decision.
The aim of the new company is to increase the amount of communications in space and realise an Internet communications network covering the earth, space, and applications such as real-time services.
"Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites need to communicate with the ground, so a large number of communications facilities are required for real-time communications, which is problematic because these satellites must pass directly over a ground station to communicate with it. Additionally, the need for frequency licenses for radio waves and the requirement for lower power consumption of communication equipment needed by smaller satellites, like micro satellites, are also issues to be addressed," Kyohei Iwamoto continues.
SSC plans to offer this optical communications equipment as a service to companies working on satellite development. By using optical communications, SSC aims to realise high-speed communications with small devices, which are physically difficult to achieve with conventional radio communications because conventional communications require large antenna and high power output.
In addition, by constructing an optical communications network not only between satellites and the ground, but also between satellites in orbit, SSC aims to enable real-time communications from anywhere on the ground to any satellite in space.