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FSO Instruments, a Dutch space optics company, will commercialize TNO’s laser satellite communication technology. TNO is the Dutch Organization for Applied Scientific Research and has been developing laser tech for decades. Following the license and cooperation agreement, the two entities commit to a long-term partnership to establish a European ecosystem for laser satellite communication based in the Netherlands.

Laser enables much faster and more secure broadband connectivity than current radio frequencies. Recently, TNO successfully transferred data between a satellite and a ground station in The Hague via self-developed laser communication technology. This marked the world’s first fast optical communication to Earth using a small and light optical terminal with Dutch technology. FSO Instruments builds on that technology in their systems.

Long term partnership

The twenty-year license agreement enables FSO Instruments to use TNO’s technology and expertise in optical heads, optical benches, and systems for coarse pointing alignment. FSO Instruments builds on TNO technology and integrates it into products that can be produced reliably and efficiently in series for commercial use. In addition to a license agreement for technologies used today, TNO and FSO Instruments have also agreed to long-term cooperation for the development of innovative technologies and applications for laser communication. In this cooperation, TNO will focus on early technology development and demonstrators, while FSO instruments will be responsible for technology industrialization, manufacturing, and market development.

Will Crowcombe, Managing Director of FSO Instruments: “TNO is a key partner for FSO Instruments. Our cooperation that industrializes valuable applied research into commercial products is a textbook example of valorization. This agreement enhances our capacity to create the supply chain we need to be a leading provider of optical heads for laser satellite communication.“

Fast growing market

Due to the growth in data consumption, laser communication technology is currently on the rise. The global demand for laser satellite communication applications and components is expected to grow exponentially in the near future. The Netherlands has the ecosystem and capacity to develop a series production of high-quality instruments for laser satellite communication. FSO Instruments, founded last year, is the first Dutch company in this field. It develops and produces optical heads for laser satellite communication terminals.