Business aviation solutions provider Satcom Direct will serve as the preferred provider for Stellar Blu‘s Sidewinder antenna systems as the companies roll out the next generation of inflight connectivity for business jets. The Stellar Blu Sidewinder is a fuselage-mounted, electronically steered array (ESA) terminal, designed to retrofit executive airliners to support a full suite of connectivity services including the OneWeb LEO constellation.
Adding the Stellar Blu Sidewinder solution to the portfolio complements the [SD Plane Simple® terminal] series and gives even more choice for our executive airliner customers. The versatility of the SD eco-system of software, hardware, and ground infrastructure enables customized solutions to meet the specific missions of these elite heavy jets.– Michael Skou Christensen, chief commercial officer Satcom Direct
Stellar Blu will begin in-service evaluation of the Sidewinder ESA terminal in Q2 2023. Ultimately Stellar Blu and Satcom Direct expect to deliver a full suite of STCs is anticipated for Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer airframes. The ESA terminal is currently being type-approved on the OneWeb network.
Satcom Direct and Stellar Blu highlight the potential to deliver high-speed broadband connectivity on every mission, including routes transiting polar regions, before the end of 2023. This perhaps over-reaches in terms of where OneWeb will have landing rights for its satellite network by the end of 2023, even where the satellite signal may be available.
“Satcom Direct is motivated to enhance the overall solution performance in which the SATCOM equipment is part of the value chain,” noted Tracy Trent, CEO of Stellar Blu. “We’re looking forward to working with them to help our customers optimize the capabilities of our antenna, including its unprecedented speed, latency and lowest carbon footprint, with SD’s Ku services offered by OneWeb.”
Jason Sperry, Head of Business Aviation at OneWeb, added, “Connectivity has become an integral part of any business aviation itinerary, and nowhere is this more vital than within the VVIP and government sector. Passengers expect to be as productive and entertained as they are in the office and at home. OneWeb’s low earth Orbit satellite connectivity will enable the use of the tools and applications passengers require. Together with Satcom Direct and Stellar Blu, we are looking forward to bringing game-changing connectivity to the VVIP market.”
Based on the electronically steered antenna technology developed by Ball Aerospace, the Sidewinder platform is significantly lower profile, lighter, and smaller than existing aviation antennae. It will enable airlines to connect their aircraft, passengers, and crew over OneWeb’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication network.
The Sidewinder platform is the second ESA option Satcom Direct announced for the OneWeb network this year. At EBACE 2022 in May the two companies launched their partnership, with QEST ESA hardware delivering the connection.
In a similar announcement also made at EBACE in May, Gogo and OneWeb launched their LEO add-on for its business aviation customers for global(ish) service. That solution will be powered by an exclusive agreement with Hughes for terminal hardware.
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