Omnispace and Ligado Networks announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to combine their respective licensed mobile satellite services (MSS) spectrum to enable the world’s most capable space-based, direct-to-device (D2D) solutions for global voice, text and data connectivity. Utilizing large blocks of satellite spectrum in the L- and S-Bands, this agreement sets the stage for the development of multi-band, multi-orbit satellite offerings to enable ubiquitous mobile connectivity for more than 5 billion mobile subscribers in areas where terrestrial cellular coverage does not exist today.
The companies’ collaboration would use portions of Ligado’s 40 MHz of L-band satellite spectrum in the U.S. and Canada and Omnispace’s 60 MHz of S-band satellite spectrum (3GPP 5G bands n255 and n256). The combination would bring together for the first time the largest block of satellite spectrum dedicated to meeting a global market need for text, voice and data capability. The satellite spectrum assembled by the companies is licensed, 3GPP-standardized for non-terrestrial networks (NTN) and already in compliance with existing international ITU and U.S. regulations. Additionally, the collaboration anticipates optimizing multi-orbit geostationary (GEO) and non-geostationary (NGSO) networks to provide seamless, global coverage for D2D use cases across key markets, including consumer smartphone, automotive and Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity.
“In many ways, this spectrum combination is the last missing piece to unlocking the full promise and potential of direct-to-device connectivity and creates the necessary foundation for an exceptional voice, text and data experience,” said Ram Viswanathan, President and CEO for Omnispace. “Together with Ligado, we will bring the spectrum and technology to deliver a game-changing solution directly from space to a variety of devices that could benefit billions of mobile subscribers worldwide.”
“We are pleased to partner with Omnispace in this initiative that has the potential to accelerate enhanced 5G non-terrestrial networks globally with coverage and bandwidth to support superior direct-to-device satellite connectivity,” said Doug Smith, President and CEO for Ligado Networks. “This an important step forward for Ligado’s satellite business. The addition of S-band solutions to our growing L-band portfolio of satellite services brings together an unrivaled amount of licensed satellite spectrum across multiple orbits. Together we are able to establish a premier, one-stop shop global footprint for ecosystem partners and global MNOs to offer premium services for billions of mobile subscribers worldwide.”
The combination of L- and S-band spectrum is a unique opportunity to expand the ecosystem of D2D applications and technologies, enhance user experience and extend service globally. For consumer smartphones, the offering will have enough bandwidth to go beyond emergency satellite texting by offering ubiquitous roaming mobile coverage with two-way voice, messaging and data capabilities. Automotive partners can leverage the service to provide customers a suite of safety, telematics and intelligent connectivity solutions that are always-on and resilient. The expansion of the ecosystem, driven by this unique combination of satellite spectrum bands, will enable greater accessibility for mission-critical IoT connectivity across industries such as agriculture, government, energy production and distribution, as well as supply chain management.
NASA will launch Israel’s first space telescope mission, the Ultraviolet Transient Astronomy Satellite (ULTRASAT). ULTRASAT, an ultraviolet observatory with a large field of view, will investigate the secrets of short-duration events in the universe, such as supernova explosions and mergers of neutron stars.
Led by the Israel Space Agency and Weizmann Institute of Science, ULTRASAT is planned for launch into geostationary orbit around Earth in early 2026. In addition to providing the launch service, NASA will also participate in the mission’s science program.
“We are proud to join this partnership, an international effort that will help us better understand the mysteries of the hot, transient universe,” said Mark Clampin, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “ULTRASAT will give the global science community another important capability for making new observations in the nascent field of time domain and multimessenger astrophysics programs.”
ULTRASAT’s wide field of view will allow it to quickly discover and capture ultraviolet light from sources in the cosmos that change on short timescales. Researchers will combine ULTRASAT’s observations of these short-term events with information from a variety of other missions, including those studying gravitational waves and particles – a field known as time domain and multimessenger astronomy. The results will shed light on the workings of everything from black holes and gravitational wave sources to supernovae and active galaxies.
“Groundbreaking science calls for cutting-edge technology,” said Uri Oron, director of the Israel Space Agency in the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Technology. “Our requirements from ULTRASAT, such as a wide field of view, advanced ultraviolet sensitivity, and real-time data control and transfer are at the forefront of technological developments. Israel’s space industry can deliver these capabilities. The Israel Space Agency is proud of the cooperation with NASA as a direct example of the strong partnership between the agencies, and of the Israeli space industry’s technological effort involved in the development of the telescope.”
“This is a breakthrough project that places Israel at the forefront of global research,” said Eli Waxman, astrophysicist at the Weizmann Institute of Science and ULTRASAT’s head researcher. “Leading international bodies such as NASA and the DESY research institute have joined this Israeli-led project as partners, having recognized its scientific significance. They are investing considerable resources in the construction and launch of the satellite to become active participants in this mission with access to its scientific products. It’s a science-driven partnership.”
Through the agreement between NASA and the Israel Space Agency, NASA will provide the launch opportunity, Flight Payload Adapter, and other launch-related responsibilities for ULTRASAT. The Israel Space Agency will deliver the completed observatory to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch.