Broadcast 3720- Shey Sabripour

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Guest:  Shey Sabripour; Topics:  CesiumAstro, phased array technology and stack, LEO and GEO satellites, R&D, satellite telecommunications now and in the future plus more.

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We welcomed Shey Sabripour to the show to discuss his company, CesiumAstro,. their cutting edge technology, active phased array technology, and what it means for LEO and GEO telecommunication satellites and customers.  We started the discussion with my asking Shey for the origin of the company name, CesiumAstro.  I thought the name was interesting and when I heard the roots of the name, I was glad I asked the question.  From that point on, we talked about satellite communications, mostly LEO sats but some GEO sat talk, and the application of active phased array technology.

Shey took us through quite a bit of technical information with satellite communications to Earth including technologies other than active phased array technology which includes steerable beam antennas.  He fully explained the electrically steerable arrays through the entire program as several questions came from listeners working to understand it all.  For context, he talked about GEO sats at 36,000 KM with a fixed beam antennal explaining why that works.  From there, he talked about LEO sats in a 90 minute orbit. He said a technology could track the satellite or there could be an electrically steered active phased array beam which he then explained what he meant and how the technology actually worked.  This was a big part of today's discussion so do listen to it all in order to understand it. 

In addition to the technology, Shey talked about their products and the full stack. See their website for details,  Shey went into detail about Cesium Mission 1 and the first two satellites, customer onboard experiments, plus the equipment that gets added to the satellite during construction.  On the website click on the products tab in the upper menu going across the page. 

Todd in San Diego sent in the first question asking about Starlink.  Shey said they used the same technology but it was not theirs.  I asked out these steerable beams were kept from interfering with hardware and beams. Don't miss his response but he did point out FCC licenses, the non-interference requirement and the need to not overlap a signal.  He mentioned power limitations and flux density.  Shey also mentioned that K band was getting crowded but then reminded us that space was a big place. 

Our guest was asked about funding for the company. He said it was a venture backed company with a Series A.  Jackie asked if the company and its products were vertically integrated.  Don't miss his response.  It seems like it is both inhouse and an array of special suppliers.  In the discussion, Shey mentioned mobile platforms, cars, airplanes, and cell phones.  This led to a question by Beth asking about the way in which the moving devices such as a car, plane or cell phone connected to the satellite with this technology.  She wanted to know what hardware was in the moving device that made this possible.  In the end, as I came to understand it, this technology will be available to devices that are moving on the ground but not yet.  It was a most interesting discussion so once again, don't miss it.

Ben asked about defending the technology against bad actors.  In his reply, Shey had more to say about Mission 1 and the Cesium 1 and 2 satellites.  He was asked why an Atlas 5 and say not on a SpaceX rideshare.  Shey explained that the mission was a DOD mission and they were ride sharing on a DOD launch. Another listener brought up the full stack, we talked about both their software and hardware, optical payloads and integration to the customer's satellite.

Skipping forward, as we were closing in on the end of the discussion, I asked our guest for the five year and longer plan for the company.  Notice the mention of increased R&D and usage of next generation AI.  Listen carefully to what Shey said their goal was, then post on our blog letting us know your thoughts on this.  I asked if active phased array technology would soon be outdated.  Our guest thought it would remain cutting edge for sometime. 

Before ending, listener James in San Diego asked about this technology for space settlements on the surface of the Moon or Mars along with free space settlements.  Our guest was very pro space settlement and told us many of the applications for helping to enable space settlement via this technology for communication purposes.  He said they were getting involved with Artemis and to have electrically steered beams from the lunar or Martian surface would be a big deal.  The same for the free space habitats.  As the show was ending, Adrian in San Diego sent in skeptical comments that our guest responded to as I read his emails on air.  Tell us your thoughts regarding active phased array technology and electrically steered antenna beams?  Our blog awaits your opinions.   Our guest provided us with summary comments before we ended the program.

Please post your comments/questions on our blog for this show. Our guest can be reached through The Space Show or his company website per the URL in this program summary.




CesiumAstro phased array technology ready for launch

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11 Jul 2021 Shey Sabripour
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