LEO antenna reception “validated”

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Ottawa-based Telesat has a couple of test Low Earth orbiting satellites working in space as precursors to the deployment of a full constellation. But if these, and other proposed mega-constellations, are to succeed then there has to be a lower-cost antenna system capable of picking up the craft’s signals. The airline industry in particular is seeking dependable solutions for its in-flight entertainment and broadband connectivity.

One business thinks it has a solution. The Canadian signals have permitted ThinKom’s phased array antenna system to be properly tested using Telesat’s Phase 1 craft on what ThinKom says is the first live test.

The test was performed using a production model of ThinKom’s Ka2517 aeronautical satcom antenna, designed for business aviation, commercial air transport and military airborne applications. ThinKom’s Ka2517 antenna successfully acquired, tracked and maintained seamless end-to-end connectivity with the Telesat LEO satellite. Full-duplex throughput data rates of up to 370 Mbps on the downlink and 110 Mbps on the uplink were achieved at extremely high spectral efficiencies, all while demonstrating the ultra-low latency capabilities (20-40 msec) of Telesat’s LEO satellite.

The signals collected were also re-transmitted to an orbiting geostationary satellite, and then bounced to the Telesat craft. Overall round-trip switching timings were below 1 second.

“These on-air tests confirm that our unique phased-array antenna architecture provides the beam agility, switching speeds, low look-angles and high spectral efficiencies required to communicate over a LEO satellite network,” said Bill Milroy, ThinKom’s Chairman/CTO. “We are now moving into the next phase of development and commercialisation of an Enterprise User Terminal for Telesat’s global LEO satellite system.”

ThinKom and Telesat signed a MoU back in September last year to develop user terminals for the LEO system.


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