Stellar Blu secured a significant boost for its Sidewinder electronically steered antenna (ESA) platform. The company executed an Technical Services Agreement with Boeing that will see the terminal kit as an option for line-fit on the 737 MAX, 787, and 777X types, likely before the end of 2024.
The Sidewinder terminal is a gamechanger for our airline customers. Core to the terminal design was openness and portability. We’ve listened to the airline community, and have embraced the key architectural factors to assure longer terminal lifecycles and longevity on customer aircraft.– Tracy Trent, CEO of Stellar Blu
The project will emphasize a “minimalist” impact on the airframe, assuring that the Sidewinder System aligns with existing Boeing provisions. It will mount similarly to the existing offerings, using the same bolt locations and through holes in the fuselage. Unlike mechanically steered antennae available on Boeing planes today, however, the solution will not require an external radome atop the aircraft. That reduces weight, drag, maintenance challenges, and complexity for the solution.
Also notable is that the solution uses the same antenna panels and avionics units as the retrofit solutions being tested and flown today. The ability to install the same system – and deliver the same performance – as a retrofit or line-fit, from regional jets up to the 777X, provides an incredible range for Stellar Blu to work with.
Most of all, Trent emphasizes the idea of the Sidewinder terminal as an an open solution, allowing easy integration supporting multiple service providers, as well as satellite constellations in any orbit. Boeing will provide support for the line-fit hardware configuration and Stellar Blu will offer post-delivery configuration support of the terminal, enabling owners to smoothly switch between service providers.
“Customers are tired of getting shoehorned into a specific solution,” Trent explains. “To the greatest extent possible, we’ve we’ve kept that flexibility so they don’t have to do anything to the airplane that is unique for us. They get service provider choice.”
Panasonic’s VP Connectivity John Wade added, “Panasonic is extremely pleased to see that Stellar Blu and Boeing are working together to offer the SBS terminal onto Boeing aircraft. As we’ve shared previously, Panasonic intends to use the Stellar Blu terminal in our multi-orbit solutions and have an active integration program underway with Stellar Blu. Obviously if Panasonic customers can select the Stellar Blu terminal when they order new Boeing aircraft that is something that we see as a positive development.”
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More on Stellar Blu’s ESA evolution:
- OneWeb, Stellar Blu confirm successful LEO in-flight connectivity tests on 777
- Panasonic Avionics highlights Stellar Blu antenna for OneWeb LEO service
- Intelsat successfully tests Stellar Blu ESA in LEO/GEO service
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