Quasar Satellite Technologies, a space communications startup building ground station services to replace parabolic dishes has raised $6 million in pre-Series A.
The round by CSIRO’s VC fund, Main Sequence Ventures, and included PAN Group, and Marc and Lindy De Stoop of Climatech Group.
The company has also scored a $5.3 million Defence Innovation Hub contract. It plans to use the capital raise to fast-track its Defence contract, while the current team of 14 will grow to 24 this year.
Quasar emerged in 2021 from a partnership with CSIRO, repurposing advanced technology developed over the past decade for radio astronomy.
The challenge Qasar is addressing is the rapid growth of small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) – think Musk’s satellite broadband Starlink as an example – arranged in constellations, ranging from dozens to several hundred and even thousands. They’ve changed the way ground stations can communicate to manage and control operations. Qasar developed a patented true multi-beam and all-digital phased array ground station system, operating in a Software-as-a-Service model, to address those demands.
While there are currently around 6,000 satellites in orbit – more than double the 2,600 in 2020, that figure is expected to exceed 50,000 within a decade.
Quasar founder and CEO Phil Ridley said they’ve received keen interest from the largest players in the world’s ground segment for their product.
“Quasar will launch our true multi-beam Generation 1 digital phased array technology later this year. Our world-first technology was born from the CSIRO’s radio-astronomy division and this foundation technology will help us change space communications forever,” he said.
“As satellites continue to launch – there will be around 50,000 in a decade’s time – earth just doesn’t have enough of right ‘real-estate’, and ground station companies enough CAPEX and OPEX, to speak to this many satellites efficiently.
“Our array – roughly the size of a coffee table – can replace up 35+ parabolic dishes and run them for a fraction of the cost. We and are committed to growing a large Australian company serving the global space industry”.
Main Sequence Ventures Martin Duursma said the next generation technology Qasar is building which will put Australia at the vanguard of the world’s space and communications industries.
“Quasar’s solution will likely touch every human on earth as internet including streaming services, iOT, earth imagery and sensor data is beamed from satellites to earth,” he said.
“Helping Australia’s Defence industry gain ‘the ultimate high ground’ doesn’t hurt either.”