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 also secured a $5.3 million Defense Innovation Hub contract. It plans to use the capital raise to accelerate its defense contract, while its current team of 14 will grow to 24 this year.
Quasar emerged in 2021 from a collaboration with CSIRO, repurposing cutting-edge technology developed over the past decade for radio astronomy.
The challenge facing Qasar is the rapid growth of small low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites — think of Musk’s broadband satellite Starlink as an example — arranged in constellations ranging from dozens to several hundred and even thousands. They have changed the way ground stations can communicate to manage and control operations. Qasar developed a patented true multi-beam and fully digital phased array ground station system, operating in a Software-as-a-Service model, to meet those requirements.
While there are currently about 6,000 satellites in orbit — more than double the 2,600 in 2020, that number is expected to exceed 50,000 within a decade.
Quasar founder and CEO Phil Ridley said they have received strong interest from the world’s largest ground segment players in their product.
“Quasar will launch our true multi-beam Generation 1 digital phased array technology later this year. Our world’s first technology was born out of CSIRO’s radio astronomy division and this foundational technology will help us change space communications forever,” he said.
“As satellites continue to launch – there will be about 50,000 in ten years – the Earth just doesn’t have enough ‘real estate’ rights and ground station companies don’t have enough CAPEX and OPEX to communicate efficiently with so many satellites.
“Our setup – about the size of a coffee table – can replace over 35 parabolic dishes and operate them for a fraction of the cost. We and are committed to growing a major Australian company serving the global aerospace industry.”
Main Sequence Ventures Martin Duursma said the next-generation technology that Qasar is building will put Australia at the forefront of the world’s space and communications industry.
“Quasar’s solution is likely to touch every human on Earth as the Internet, including streaming services, IoT, Earth imagery and sensor data from satellites are beamed to Earth,” he said.
“Helping the Australian defense industry gain ‘the ultimate high ground’ can’t hurt either.”