ESA: The Endgame (Inflight Magazine)
Below are a few excerpts from Inflight Magazine’s March/April 2021 article, “ESA: the endgame” in which Henry Canaday explores the future of ESAs for IFC.
Though installations may have stalled, interest in broadband connectivity hasn’t waned during the COVID pandemic, prompting many to see the future in electronically steered antennas. So, will ESAs replace conventional satcom antennas, asks an inquisitive Henry Canaday
How realistic are all these ESA hopes and prospects? ‘There is a common misperception that ESAs are superior technology and just around the corner,’ argues Bill Milroy, Chief Technology Officer at ThinKom.
Further, ESAs are typically power-hungry, requiring thermal management, versus VICTS’s cool operation. Flat ESAs can perform poorly with GEOs at high latitudes, while VICTS supports connectivity above 70N.
And the ThinKom CTO says VICTS can switch from satellite to satellite in under 800 milliseconds and has proven its ability to operate with every LEO and MEO network available.
And VICTS is a veteran, not a prospect.
Dave Bijur is SVP of Commercial Aviation for Intelsat, which acquired Gogo’s airline business. He says Intelsat will stick with ThinKom’s 2Ku VICTS antennas for larger and overwater aircraft. ‘It offers high reliability, as a result of fewer moving parts, exceptional throughput, and attractive aeronautical properties – its low profile reduces drag and fuel consumption.’ Intelsat has been operating VICTS antennas since 2016.
Read the full article starting on p. 12 here.