Aerospace company Airbus has signed a payload slot contract with laser communications start-up Xenesis for Bartolomeo platform on the International Space Station (ISS).

Xenesis is planning to demonstrate its Xen-Hub optical communication space terminal aboard the Airbus-built platform on ISS.

The optical communications terminal has been developed to expand the bandwidth of satellite communications and was built following a technology transfer from the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Airbus US Space Systems head Debra Facktor said: “Xenesis payload will be one of the first from the US to be installed on the Bartolomeo platform and is an opportunity to demonstrate the viability of their optical communication space terminal for multiple customers.

“In addition, Airbus and the ISS National Lab are inviting additional users for research and test opportunities on the Bartolomeo platform.”

The Bartolomeo platform was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and installed on the ISS Columbus module on 1 April.

The platform serves as an affordable alternative to small satellites and CubeSats. It can provide direct views of Earth from altitudes of around 240 miles.

Xenesis president Jeff Glattstein said: “We are pleased to be partnered with Airbus for our optical communications test mission on Bartolomeo.

“The Airbus platform gives us the utmost confidence for a successful endeavour, allowing Xenesis to focus on our technology development while Airbus provides the guidance, support and infrastructure necessary to host the system on the ISS.”