Ball Aerospace partners with Honeywell on satellite project

BOULDER — Ball Aerospace is collaborating with Honeywell to develop and produce Optical Communication DataLinks enabling satellite operators to deliver global connectivity to users.

Ball Aerospace, based in Boulder, and Honeywell will establish volume production of optical terminals for high-speed communications from ground to space, between spacecraft and from spacecraft to aircraft.

It’s not the first time the two companies have collaborated: They’ve been working together since the 1990s on various optical communications projects. This latest endeavor will use American-sourced parts for the optical communication terminals, making the solutions secure for domestic missions.

“Ball and Honeywell are leveraging their respective strengths to collaboratively develop advanced optical terminals for inter-satellite links,”  Brad Tousley, vice president of strategic technology development and commercial aerospace business for Ball Aerospace, said in a prepared statement. “Our team’s strong, proven capabilities in developing and manufacturing precision space-based optical systems will ensure the success of future low-earth-orbit constellations.”

The free-space optical communications systems complement radio frequency solutions. The result is the ability to bring the internet speeds of fiber optics in the ground into space. The systems use laser technology to offer a narrower and more focused beam than traditional radio frequency links, resulting in high data rates, more capacity, greater security and smaller, more affordable terminals.