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AstroTerrace, Inc., and BridgeSat, Inc. announce the contract award to develop the Optical Communications Solution for the Japanese Government’s ETS-IX Program

Oct 24, 2017

Tokyo, Japan, and Denver, Colorado, USA (October 24, 2017) –

AstroTerrace, Inc. (AstroTerrace), and BridgeSat, Inc. (BridgeSat) announced today that they were awarded a contract to support the development of the optical communications system on the Japanese Government’s Engineering Test Satellite 9 (ETS-IX).

As a recognized world leader in space-based optical communications systems, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, NICT, has embarked on the development of an advanced optical communications system for the ETS-IX satellite, known as the High speed Communication with Advanced Laser Instrument (HICALI). The objectives of the HICALI program are:


    (1) In-orbit verification of 10 Gbps-class GEO-to-ground lasercom

    (2) In-orbit verification of novel optical modulation/demodulation formats

    (3) In-orbit verification of novel high-speed optical devices

    (4) Collection of laser-beam propagation data and in-orbit experience

New Approaches for Exploring New Usages:

    (5) Acquisition of knowledge of development with space manufacturers

    (6) Exploration of new potential users of space laser communications

As part of this collaboration, AstroTerrace and BridgeSat will work together to deliver the optical front end for HICALI on the ETS-IX satellite. When ETS-IX is launched in 2021, HICALI is expected to deliver data rates of 10 Gbps through an optical communications link between the ground and the ETS-IX satellite, located in a geosynchronous orbit above Japan.

Under the contract, AstroTerrace will manage the program and oversee the development.

BridgeSat will provide the optical front end design, leveraging their experience delivering commercial optical communications systems that provides secure, high data rate communications at a price that is more attractive than traditional RF systems.

“The goal of this development is to advance the state of the art in optical communications in a system that will provide benefit to future satellite communication needs. BridgeSat and AstroTerrace have offered a solution that will not only meet our program needs, but also will serve the future innovation for the space laser communication opportunity between GEO and Ground,” said a NICT Research Director.

“NICT has provided decades of leadership with space optical communications, and we look forward to working with the BridgeSat team for NICT on this important project,” said Hisanori Tsuji, President and Founder of AstroTerrace.

“It is a great honor to work for NICT, partnering with AstroTerrace, on the HICALI system for the ETS-IX satellite. They are the pioneers in space optical communications, and they share our mutual goal to advance this technology for the benefit of the world, and extends BridgeSat’s solution from LEO to GEO,” said Barry Matsumori, CEO of BridgeSat.

About National Institute of Information and Communications Technology

The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) promotes the full spectrum of research and development in information and communications technology (ICT) from basic to applied research with an integrated perspective, and thus promotes the advancement of Japan as an intellectual nation that leads the international community. Moreover, NICT forms close ties with the academic and business communities in Japan as well as with research institutes overseas and returns its R&D findings to society in a broad range of fields. In this way, NICT contributes to the creation of lifestyles that are affluent and safe, a society that is full of intellectual creativity and dynamism, and a world that values harmony and peace. More information can be found at

About AstroTerrace

AstroTerrace provides solutions for space development programs and business as “Soft Prime”, including commercial engineering support and project management services for space research and development organizations and satellite companies, with a specialty in advanced optical systems for complex satellite networks.

About BridgeSat

BridgeSat has designed an optical communications ground network that aims to improve the transfer of data from satellites. The system provides an alternative transmission mechanism that is designed to be faster, more secure and available at a lower cost to traditional radio frequency systems.

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