OneWeb links with SatixFy for IFC
March 19, 2021
By Chris Forrester
Satellite constellation operator OneWeb is linking with SatixFy which develops multi-beam communication antennas. The pair want to tap into demand for In Flight Communications and broadband.
The two say they have signed an agreement to develop a new In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) terminal that will work over the OneWeb network as well as on Geostationary (GEO) satellite networks. SatixFy UK has formed a Joint Venture with Singapore Technology Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering), called JetTalk, to exclusively commercialize the IFC terminal for the Commercial Aviation market.
The agreement reaffirms OneWeb’s ambitions in the global aerospace arena as it sets out its roadmap to support commercial, regional, business and government aviation users.
The IFC terminal says it will unleash the power of OneWeb’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation and deliver a ‘home-equivalent’ inflight broadband experience, while also allowing operators to complement their legacy GEO service. The product is based on SatixFy’s Electronically Steered Multibeam Antenna (ESMA) technology, developed together with JetTalk, provides multibeam capability and operates simultaneously on multiple LEO and GEO satellites.”
Well positioned to bring ESMA technology to the market earlier than originally anticipated, SatixFy, has recently completed the development of a Tx tile of 576 elements and Rx tile of 1024 elements, that can be used as building blocks for the planned terminal. The tiles, which have been co-developed together with JetTalk, have completed initial testing and are currently being implemented inside a terminal product. The OneWeb IFC terminal will integrate the OneWeb modem as well as a GEO network one, inside the terminal.
OneWeb says it is confident of its suitability for all aviation applications – commercial, regional, business and government aviation use-cases. Ben Griffin, VP Mobility at OneWeb, added: “OneWeb is creating IFC solutions which offer a significant increase in the whole passenger travelling experience. This agreement with SatixFy represents a major milestone for OneWeb Aviation, as we plot our path to facilitating onboard connectivity, globally, on commercial airliner and corporate jets, large and small.”
“The ability to deploy multibeam, multi-satellite, multi-orbit IFC terminals is key in SatixFy’s offering developed in partnership with ST Engineering through our Joint Venture – JetTalk.” says Yoel Gat, SatixFy’s CEO. “Aggregating capacity from multiple satellites will give customers the grade of service they expect on flights. This great leap forward is made possible thanks to the continuous support by ESA and UK Space Agency.”
Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at the UK Space Agency, said: “The last year has shown connectivity has never been more important to our daily lives, and it is exciting to see SatixFy and OneWeb working together to provide aircraft with broadband internet for the first time. The new aviation terminal will make use of the Prime, Beat and Sx3099 ASIC chips developed with UK Space Agency backing, showing how supporting our most innovative companies leads to results that make a real difference for people all over the world.”
Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, said: “Space and satellites are becoming increasingly important to the digital economy and there is a need to get data all the time and everywhere – even on board a plane. ESA is proud to have supported SatixFy in the design of the chips used for this terminal – enabling the digital transformation of society using telecommunications satellites.”