Falls Church, Virginia-based satellite startup Lynk has successfully sent a text message from space to a mobile phone on Earth.
Lynk was named the #5 most promising young company to watch this year on Technical.ly’s 2020 RealLIST Startups. Launched in 2017 and formerly named UbiquitiLink, the startup has a patented space tech designed to allow cellphone users to stay connected virtually anywhere on earth using low-earth-orbit nanosatellites, even in isolated areas.
The test that took place on Feb. 24 — “witnessed by independent third-party observers,” according to the company — saw the success of multiple sent text messages between the company’s patented “cell phone tower in space” and a mobile phone. This milestone brings Lynk a step closer to its goal of using satellites to provide broadband services to mobile phone users all over the planet.
“This is a game changer for the billions of people who own a mobile phone, for the billions who do not have affordable connectivity, and for the entire mobile communications industry,” said Lynk cofounder and CEO Charles Miller in a statement. “In the near future, you will stay connected everywhere. All the time.”
This accomplishment comes after the company spent more than a year testing its tech on the ground. Miller said in the news release that Lynk is partnering with nearly 30 mobile network operators to deploy its tech product commercially. During its recent testing, the satellite startup was also able to test its Everyone Everywhere Emergency alerts, which it hopes will help improve critical communication for emergency responders during natural disasters.
“This is a critical verification of our revolutionary radio access network technology’s ability to compensate for the effects of placing the cell tower in orbit, which mobile standards were not designed for,” said Lynk’s cofounder and VP of technology, Tyghe Speidel.
On March 6, Lynk also launched its fourth spacecraft, called Lynk the World, on the SpaceX’s CRS-20 mission. This new spacecraft will allow the company to expand its testing this summer. Combined with its $5.2 million in seed funding it raised last summer, Lynk has raised $12 million in venture capital to date. The satellite startup currently has 20 employees working out of its Falls Church office.
“We had a great shot to win a major award, but that is life,” Miller told Technical.ly regarding the event’s cancellation. “Everybody is being impacted by the coronavirus. We are all in the same boat together.”