Solstar Energy Devices
NMSBA is the best way the labs can help technology-based small businesses in New Mexico.
In April and July of 2018, Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital rocket
system traveled into space. Aboard the rocket was Solstar’s Schmitt
Space Communicator. As the craft reached maximum altitude, the
Communicator tweeted back to Earth via WiFi: “What a view of Planet
Earth. Brought to you live from Space.”
Solstar is the first internet service provider operating from space. The
company has demonstrated internet services from space to Earth and
enabled Earth-based customers access to machines and colleagues
located in space. Although Solstar scientists had a prototype of the
Space Communicator ready for testing, M. Brian Barnett needed to
ensure that his payload met all requirements. Barnett reached out to
NMSBA, which partnered him with Justin McGlown, Terra Shephard,
and Angus Guider at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
McGlown, Shepherd, Guider, and their team modeled a space flight, and
consulted with Solstar on the design of the Communicator. After the
second flight, the team also developed a bar chart of connection instances
for potential sensors. This will help Solstar develop their antenna design
for future flights to optimize how the Communicator works from space.
In part as a result of this work, Solstar successfully tested and validated
its Communicator from outer space, demonstrating its viability in this
new market. Solstar has raised a $350,000 seed round, and has NASA
and other prominent space companies as customers. Based on intense
interest, Solstar plans to manufacture its Space Communicator soon.