Sony has set up a new company that will develop, build and supply devices that will allow small satellites in orbit to communicate via laser beams, the company said late on Thursday.
Sony Space Communications Corporation, registered on Wednesday, plans to take advantage of laser technology to avoid a bottleneck of radio frequencies.
The devices will work between satellites in space and satellites communicating with ground stations.
The company did not say when it expects to have its first commercial device operating in space, whether it has existing customers lined up or how much money it has invested in the technology to date.
There are roughly 12,000 satellites in orbit, a number that is projected to increase rapidly in the coming years as rocket companies slash the cost of launching things into space, and firms such as Amazon and SpaceX build vast networks of low-earth satellites to carry internet communications all across the globe.
“The amount of data used in orbit is also increasing year by year, but the amount of available radio waves is limited,” the new company’s president, Kyohei Iwamoto, said in a statement.
SpaceX makes its own laser communication devices in-house and first launched them on its Starlink satellites late last year.
Sony said one of its first successful tests occurred in 2020 when it transmitted high-definition image data by laser from the International Space Station to a ground station in Japan.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean OMeara