An interview with David Bettinger

Bringing Space Data Down to Earth: David Bettinger Talks SpaceLink Plans

By Rachel Jewett, Via Satellite

Just before the end of the year, Electro Optic Systems (EOS) announced a new company called SpaceLink to establish a data relay satellite service. The venture is led by David Bettinger, who designed OneWeb’s first generation satellites. Bettinger is an industry veteran who has also worked for iDirect and Hughes Network Systems, but this is his first time taking the helm of a company. With this role, he is moving from a communication-based Low-Earth Orbit system, to a service targeting sensing satellites in LEO instead.

In this interview with Via Satellite, Bettinger shares more detail about SpaceLink’s plans, and how the company will establish a constellation of three satellites in Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO) to help Earth Observation (EO) and other sensing satellites in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) improve data download. SpaceLink has priority spectrum in MEO, originally secured by startup Audacy, which EOS acquired in May 2020. Bettinger talks about how the EOS vision has evolved from Audacy’s plans, and the opportunity in a satellite data relay service.

VIA SATELLITE: In layman’s terms, talk to me about SpaceLink’s plans for the data relay constellation, and how it will work.

Bettinger: We are interested in serving the vast amount of data that is coming from space. Most of the LEO satellites that are going up are not communication satellites, most of them are Earth Observation, radar satellites, or weather — something that is collecting information. Right now, the only opportunity for those LEO satellites that are collecting information is to store the data and to download it every 90 minutes when they pass over one of their gateways.