Satellite terminal manufacturer SatixFy racks up wins with Telesat, OneWeb

One of the key pieces of tech development for LEO broadband networks is affordable, lower-cost user terminal equipment.  SatixFy recently announced deals with Telesat and One Web for integrating its technology into those company’s respective ground stations and user terminal plans.

Telesat and SatixFy have established a six-month early access program giving Telesat early access to SatixFy’s Sx3099 modem chip. Under the agreement, SatixFy and Telesat will demonstrate advanced modem designs for both ground stations and user terminals for the Telesat Lightspeed LEO broadband network.

“Telesat is working closely with modem vendors, antenna vendors, RF equipment vendors, and terminal integrators to ensure the availability of Lightspeed-compatible user terminals,” said Erwin Hudson, Vice President of LEO at Telesat.  ”Even though we do not build user terminals ourselves, our engineering team is working to make certain that the building blocks required to design and manufacture Lightspeed equipment are available across the supply chain. This technology validation contract with SatixFy is a key part of our user terminal ecosystem development.”

The companies will perform a six-month requirements verification program, focused on the development and testing of evaluation boards and prototype modem units. The companies will also conduct integration work and interoperability tests with the Telesat Lightspeed satellite onboard processor. 

SatixFy’s advanced Sx3099 modem chip is capable of processing multiple gigabits per second in both transmit and receive directions. The highly integrated, high-performance chip is well suited for the requirements of LEO broadband satellite networks and can support high-capacity links and beam hopping with lower power consumption, smaller cell size, and lower price points than competitive offerings. 

Telesat is working with multiple suppliers who want to build modems and other equipment for Lightspeed. Manufacturers will have the option of using either the Sx3099 chip or the TOM core module that incorporates the Sx3099 chip to build cost-effective high-performance modems for the LEO broadband network, but Telesat believes the Sx3099 is “likely the best path to achieving the price, performance, power consumption and other key Lightspeed requirements,” said Hudson.

Under the OneWeb agreement announced last week, SatixFY will build an 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 Commercial Aviation markets.

Aviation is big business and OneWeb wants a solid piece of the market. According to the OneWeb release, the IFC terminal 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 new terminal is based on SatixFy’s Electronically Steered Multibeam Antenna (ESMA) technology, developed together with JetTalk and provides multibeam capability and operates simultaneously on multiple LEO and GEO satellites. Initial testing of the underlying antenna technology has been completed and are “currently being implemented” in a product. The OneWeb IFC terminal will combine both a OneWeb modem as well as a GEO network one inside the same hardware.

Doug Mohney

Doug Mohney, a principal at Cidera Analytics, has been working and writing about IT and satellite industries for over 20 years. His real world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company. Follow him on Twitter at DougonTech or contact him at dmohney139 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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