ThinKom Successfully Completes First-Ever, In-Flight Roaming Tests on SES’s GEO and O3b MEO Satellites
Ka2517 Phased-Array Aero Antenna Demonstrates Seamless Beam-to-Beam and Inter-Constellation Handover with SES’ MEO and GEO Satellites
HAWTHORNE, Calif. – Oct. 23, 2019 – ThinKom Solutions, Inc. has completed a series of very successful in-flight connectivity tests of its Ka-band antenna on SES’ O3b medium-Earth orbit (MEO) and geostationary (GEO) satellites.
The tests provided the first live demonstration of airborne communication with the O3b MEO satellites and included seamless handovers between MEO and GEO satellites during flight.
The in-flight demos used the Thales FlytLIVE connectivity network and incorporated the Hughes JUPITER™ ModMan integrated to the ThinKom Ka2517 antenna.
The flights took place Sept. 17-18 over South Florida and the Caribbean Sea, using a commercially available ThinKom Ka2517 phased-array airborne antenna mounted on a Gulfstream G-III test aircraft. With the Hughes JUPITER Aeronautical system and ModMan, the antenna demonstrated the ability to achieve high data throughput rates while seamlessly switching among successive O3b MEO satellites, as well as transfers between O3b and SES’ GEO constellations.
The Ka2517 achieved downlink error-free data throughput rates in excess of 265Mbps, with beam switching speeds of less than one second, while automatically resolving adjacent satellite interference (ASI) issues.
“This is the first in-flight demonstration of an aeronautical antenna communicating across a MEO-GEO hybrid satellite network. The Ka2517 with the JUPITER ModMan met or exceeded all test parameters for spectral efficiency, data throughput, beam agility, switching speeds, ASI mitigation, low-angle performance and inter-constellation roaming,” said ThinKom Chief Technology Officer Bill Milroy.
“The demonstration further establishes that ThinKom has the only proven ‘no compromise‘ antenna solutions that can support seamless global satellite communication in the air with automatic roaming among GEO, LEO and MEO constellations,” Milroy added.
Based on ThinKom’s patented phased-array VICTS technology, the Ka2517 is an airborne antenna designed to communicate through satellites in low, medium and geostationary orbits. The low-profile antenna radome provides near-zero aeronautical drag in flight and supports global coverage including polar and equatorial latitudes. The field-proven Ka2517 is currently in commercial production, and units are in operational service on U.S. government aircraft.
“The test by ThinKom underscores the effectiveness of the Hughes JUPITER System for both MEO and GEO connectivity, and, when combined with a high-quality antenna such as the ThinKom Ka2517, to deliver superior spectral efficiency, link availability and performance,” said Reza Rasoulian, Vice President, Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES).
SES’ high-throughput O3b MEO constellation is the only operationally and commercially proven non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) broadband constellation today. The constellation has positively impacted millions of people with low-latency, high-performance data connectivity services and has enabled SES Networks, SES’ business unit focused on data solutions, to offer more capacity, enhanced coverage, increased efficiencies and greater flexibility to its customers.
“These successful demo tests are raising the bar for in-flight connectivity and the connected passenger experience. The seamless integration of our MEO and GEO satellite networks will provide our customers with unprecedented redundancy, higher connectivity speeds and a whole new level of operational models,” said Elias Zaccack, Executive Vice President, Global Sales, at SES Networks. “We’re very excited to have achieved this milestone together with our long-term partner Thales, as this is yet another example of how our mutual collaboration continues to bring innovative connectivity solutions with unmatched performance.”
“These in-flight tests performed together with SES, ThinKom and Hughes are an outstanding demonstration of the seamless connectivity through MEO and GEO satellite systems. Thales Alenia Space was particularly pleased to participate in this worldwide first, using the O3b satellite constellation we manufactured for SES,” said Pascal Homsy, Executive Vice President, Telecommunications Business Line, Thales Alenia Space.
About ThinKom Solutions, Inc.
ThinKom Solutions, Inc. is a leading provider of innovative, highly affordable, compact broadband antennas and products for aeronautical, vehicular, user terminal, gateway, satellite and man-portable applications. The company’s primary products uniquely enable near-term worldwide availability of high-data-rate connectivity in the X-, Ku-, Ka- and Q-bands. ThinKom offers a range of reliable, proven technology solutions for the consumer, enterprise, first responder, civil, military and intelligence communities.
SES is the world’s leading satellite operator with over 70 satellites in two different orbits, geostationary orbit (GEO) and medium-earth orbit (MEO). It provides a diverse range of customers with global video distribution and data connectivity services through two business units: SES Video and SES Networks. SES Video reaches over 351 million TV homes through Direct-to-Home (DTH) platforms and cable, terrestrial and IPTV networks globally. SES Video delivers a full suite of innovative services for both linear and digital distribution, and the ASTRA satellite system, which has the largest DTH television reach in Europe. SES Networks provides global managed data services, connecting people in a variety of sectors including telecommunications, maritime, aeronautical and energy, as well as governments and institutions across the world. The SES Networks portfolio includes GovSat, a 50/50 public-private partnership between SES and the Luxembourg government, and O3b, the only non-geostationary system delivering fiber-like broadband services today.
About Hughes Network Systems
Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES) is the global leader in broadband satellite technology and services for home and office. Its flagship high-speed satellite internet service is HughesNet®, the world’s largest satellite network with over 1.4 million residential and business customers across the Americas. For large enterprises and governments, the company’s HughesON™ managed network services provide complete connectivity solutions employing an optimized mix of satellite and terrestrial technologies. The JUPITER™ System is the world’s most widely deployed high-throughput satellite (HTS) platform, operating on more than 40 satellites by leading service providers, delivering a wide range of broadband enterprise, mobility and cellular backhaul applications. To date, Hughes has shipped more than 7 million terminals of all types to customers in over 100 countries, representing approximately 50 percent market share, and its technology is powering broadband services to aircraft around the world. Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., in Germantown, Maryland, USA, Hughes operates sales and support offices worldwide, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS), a premier global provider of satellite operations. For additional information about Hughes, please visit www.hughes.com and follow @HughesConnects on Twitter.
About Thales Alenia Space
Drawing on over 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and cultures, Thales Alenia Space delivers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments and private industry alike count on Thales Alenia Space to design satellite-based systems that provide anytime, anywhere connections and positioning, monitor our planet, enhance management of its resources, and explore our Solar System and beyond. Thales Alenia Space sees space as a new horizon, helping to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67 percent) and Leonardo (33 percent), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of about 2.5 billion euros in 2018 and has around 8,000 employees in nine countries.
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