Eutelsat, OneWeb demo multi-orbit offering
June 8, 2023
Representatives at the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) have taken part in a successful demonstration of combined Geo-stationary (GEO) and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) multi-orbit capability from satellite companies and strategic partners, Eutelsat and OneWeb.
The hands-on live demonstration which took place in May enabled the NATO attendees to get a feel for the steps that, together, both companies are making to provide a multi-orbit architecture that will deliver resilient connectivity to deliver data and communications, especially for sensitive applications.
The event provided an opportunity to explain how both companies play vital roles in Eutelsat’s Secure, Agile, Resilient and Assured (SARA) SATCOM for NATO concept, which comprises a layered, multi-orbit communications plan providing end users with primary, alternate, contingency and emergency (PACE) connectivity, should any specific network become disrupted or unavailable for any reason.
In addition, OneWeb also took the opportunity to showcase its ecosystem of solutions that will provide seamless connectivity across its global network of more than 600 LEO satellites. The company connected to its LEO constellation via its newly launched Kymeta Hawk u8 user terminal, mounted on a 4×4 Land Rover Discovery to demonstrate high throughput and low latency communications.
Proof of concept was shown when, Eutelsat, alongside Oneweb, successfully streamed 4K video feeds and ran Teams, Twitch and GoogleEarth applications at 195Mbps download speeds; 32Mbps upload speeds; and latency levels as low as 70ms. The company also demonstrated a seamless handover between beams and satellites and completed a 1GB file transfer in less than 8 seconds.
Conducted at Eutelsat’s teleport facility in Rambouillet, France, both demonstrations provided the two companies with the opportunity to showcase to the NCIA its combined offering – both in space and on Earth.
Air Marshal (Retired) Serge Cholley, Head of Defence and Security at Eutelsat, commented “Eutelsat is very proud to be able to propose multi-domain services in a multi-domain user environment. Satcom services that can operate in multiple orbits, at GEO and at LEO, as well as exploiting multiple frequency bands, can better guarantee that communication links are available when required in challenging operational environments. The opportunity that Eutelsat took to demonstrate this capability to the NCIA decision makers came at a key moment for NCIA and NATO when the role of commercial satcom in a military environment is developing very rapidly, and for Eutelsat and OneWeb in their developing business relationship, being more able to support these evolving demands with leading edge innovations.”
Air Vice-Marshal (Retired) Chris Moore, VP Defence and Security, OneWeb, added: “The way in which militaries fight has always been shaped by their communications systems. Ukraine has shown that LEO satcom helps generate real combat advantage against a more powerful opponent. OneWeb is ideally placed to help compress decision cycles and get resilient, high bandwidth, low latency connectivity to the tactical edge. It was great to be able to demonstrate, with Eutelsat, these attributes to the NCIA as it too looks to engage with space-led technologies and innovations to enhance its capabilities.”
Present at the event was OneWeb Director of Government, Charlie Clark, who described how NATO is interested in evolving beyond large, long-term and static communications infrastructure towards more agile, mobile and platform-based connectivity solutions for faster operational tempo.
“This really reflects the changing concepts of operation for NATO, moving away from big, static deployments to being much more agile. It’s going to take time to introduce that modus operandi but that’s the vision,” she said.
According to Clark, feedback from the event was “hugely positive” as NATO considers putting equipment in the hands of as many user groups across the alliance as possible to fully evaluate the capability and determine if it wants to move forward.