ThinKom Solutions, Inc. and Telesat have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly develop a Ka-band enterprise user terminal for Telesat’s planned low Earth orbit (LEO) constellation of satellites.
As an initial step in the process, ThinKom’s ThinAir® Ka2517 phased array antenna system, which is currently in production for commercial and government in-flight connectivity (IFC), will be used for over-the-air testing on Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite over the next few months.
Telesat’s state-of-the-art LEO constellation will combine the company’s global spectrum rights in Ka-band with Telesat’s proprietary LEO architecture to transform global communications. The constellation will deliver an unsurpassed combination of capacity, speed, security, resiliency, latency and low cost. Telesat’s LEO constellation will accelerate 4G/5G expansion, bridge the digital divide by bringing fiber-like high-speed services into rural and remote communities, and set new levels of performance for commercial and government broadband on land, sea and in the air.
ThinKom and Telesat will collaborate in the development of a new Telesat LEO-compliant enterprise terminal for terrestrial applications. Building on ThinKom’s disruptive antenna technology and Telesat’s commercial and technical expertise in satellite communications, the new terminal will be cost effective while delivering high-performance connectivity for applications including mobile backhaul, Wi-Fi hotspots, isolated cable and DSL networks, and remote institutions.
“ThinKom’s new terminal, combined with the revolutionary value proposition of Telesat’s LEO constellation, will unlock new satellite communications market opportunities with better value economics for service providers and their customers,” said Michel Forest, Director of Engineering at Telesat. “Easy to deploy, cost effective, and agile beam antenna technology are key requirements for our Telesat LEO constellation, which will be able to allocate bandwidth seamlessly and instantly where it’s most needed.”
“Live, over-the-air testing with Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite will validate that the ThinKom Ka-band aero antennas, which currently operate on geostationary satellites, meet all of the Telesat LEO system requirements,” Forest added.
Bill Milroy, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer of ThinKom Solutions, commented, “ThinKom’s patented phased-array architecture provides rapid switching speeds without the drawbacks typical of electronic scanning antennas in terms of limited instantaneous bandwidth, poor low look-angle performance, high power consumption and lower aperture efficiency.”
“Our proven antenna technology has the versatility to support an integrated LEO constellation solution offering gap-free pole-to-pole coverage with automatic beam switching, rapid outage recovery and network optimization for different geographical regions,” said Milroy. “This means we can offer a fast-track path to commercialization of a fully interoperable, multi-orbit solution in the near term.”