Israeli space startup launches microsatellite with expandable antenna

Israeli space startup NSLComm saw its first product successfully launched on Friday.

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli space startup NSLComm saw the successful launch of its communication satellites on Friday aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket.

One of the biggest innovations of NSLComm’s satellite is its expandable antenna, which packs away inside its cubesat – a type of miniaturized satellite – and deploys once in space.

The fact that the antenna is expandable reduces the size of the satellite by about 90 percent during its trip into orbit.

“The technology permits antennas to be stowed during launch in a compact volume and deploy while in orbit, saving mass, volume, and supporting structures,” the company says.

Daniel Rockberger, co-founder and chief engineer of NSLComm, demonstrated the antenna on June 20 at the first Space Cafe event in Israel. Space Cafe is a group that brings together space industry professionals.

The antenna most resembled a car windshield sunscreen in the way it contracted and expanded.

According to the company’s website, the antennas are made of “built-in shape memory polymer… with a near zero thermal expansion, suitable for the harsh environment of space.”

Once deployed, the satellites will provide much faster internet than traditional satellites – “more than 10 times the bandwidth,” the website says.

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NSLComm’s satellites will cover remote areas of the globe. There is a largely untapped market worth billions to provide reliable, fast internet for ocean-going vessels and the like.

NSLComm has raised $16 million since 2015, Haaretz reports.