In 2011, Christopher Richins, vice president of business development for what was to become the asteroid-mining company Planetary Resources, had a problem. The company, then known as Arkyd Astronautics, needed to find a way for a prototype telescope in low Earth orbit (LEO) to communicate vast amounts of data back to Earth.  “We could not find a reasonable offering,” says Richins. “There were no technically suitable systems available that were competitively priced, ...

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