Research institute TNO has started a long-term cooperation with commercial company FSO Instruments. A Delft company will develop and commercialize laser communications technology for the TNO satellite, the organizations announced.

The contract period is 20 years. FSO Instruments will acquire worldwide rights to industrialize and commercialize TNO's technology. “This optical technology enables broadband connections that are much faster and more secure than the radio frequencies currently in use,” the joint statement said.

According to TNO, the agreement will ensure that the Netherlands and Europe will quickly gain a strong position in a rapidly growing and competitive global market. For decades, the institute has developed optical instruments for use in space, primarily for astronomy and Earth observation.

Due to the increase in data consumption, laser communication technology is on the rise. “Global demand for applications and components for laser satellite communications is expected to increase rapidly soon,” officials predict.

FSO Instruments is a partnership agreement between technology company Demcon and industry company VDL Groep. The company develops, produces and supplies high quality equipment, especially for laser satellite communications.

This technology allows laser beams to be shaped and transmitted over long distances. This technology connects ground stations, satellites, aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles. “Data can be transmitted 100 to 1,000 times faster than the radio frequencies currently used for global communications,” the groups said.

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