Kepler Communications Closes $92M Series C to Expand Real-Time Satellite Data Relay Network
Toronto startup Kepler Communications has closed another round of capital to continue developing its in-orbit data network.
The new funding, which amounts to $92 million, will be used to launch a constellation of optical communications satellites next year. These satellites will join Kepler’s existing network of 19 radio frequency satellites operating in sun-synchronous (SSO) orbits. Two more satellites are expected to join this constellation with the launch of SpaceX’s Transporter-7 mission next week.
According to Kepler’s website, the new optical relay network will deliver data at 2.5 Gbps to satellites in low Earth orbit. The company plans to place the optical communications satellites in “two near-orthogonal planes” in SSO to enable continuous connection. The network infrastructure will serve as Internet exchange points for data relay in space, similar to how Internet traffic is exchanged on Earth, and will enable real-time data relays between spacecraft and to Earth.
The new funding was led by IA Ventures, which has invested in Kepler since its funding round in 2016. Other participating investors include Costanoa Ventures, Canaan Partners, Tribe Capital and BDC Capital’s Industrial Innovation Capital Fund. Kepler’s has now raised over $200 million to date.
“Exponentially declining launch costs make space more accessible than ever, but connectivity beyond Earth is still expensive, difficult and inconsistent,” IA Ventures general partner Brad Gillespie said in a statement. . He added that the network provides connectivity between assets in space and Earth, and “a day to Mars and beyond.”
Kepler will launch two satellites this year to test and validate the optical communication technology. In addition to satellites, Kepler operates its own ground stations and satellite production facilities.
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