Concerns over ‘flat panel’ LEO antennas

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If there’s one vital component that Elon Musk and the likes of Jeff Bezos as well as Telesat, OneWeb and others need it’s a low-cost consumer friendly phased array flat-panel antenna.

Yoel Gat, founder of Gilat Satellite Networks (and now CEO at SatixFy, a designer of flat-panel antennas) says that the dream of a sub-$300 consumer device is “many years away” and will take years to see dedicated chip-sets, hardware and software created, and ramping up volume production possible.

Gat was talking on a webinar organised by Satellite News.

SatixFy were contracted to supply one of their devices onto a OneWeb craft but the contract was terminated with OneWeb’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In February this year, and well ahead of OneWeb’s financial problems, the SatixFy payload was described by the companies in a joint press release as a ‘digitally transparent’ payload, capable of demonstrating full Beam Hopping in both forward and return links. The onboard processing subsystem will be able to run independent links on the user and gateway links on the ground with different capabilities.

The companies said that this combination of features, in conjunction with its Electronically Steered Multi-Beam Antenna will enable significantly higher throughout in specific areas. Beam Hopping will allow for seamless handover between beams and satellites, while maximum capacity can be directed to hotspots such as busy airports.

Gat, speaking this week, added that while there were plenty of companies promising suitable LEO transmission and reception technology few were actually selling products, and certainly not for the consumer market.


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