More complex satellite constellations necessitate more capable antenna solutions on aircraft and at ground stations. ThinKom, long a provider of antenna hardware for mobile connectivity, now has a multi-million dollar deal to deliver a modern gateway kit to the US Air Force’s R&D arm.
The next generation of satellite networks requires a new paradigm in the ground segment. ThinKom has a strong history of delivering high-performance antenna hardware to the US government. We are excited to extend that relationship with the AFRL, taking our proven technology, and scaling it up to deliver future-proof gateway connectivity to every orbit and every frequency.– Bill Milroy, ThinKom Chairman and Chief Technology Officer
The award-winning gateway array solution repoints from a setting satellite to a rising one nearly instantly, matching a key advantage of electronically steered antennas (ESAs). Because the solution uses multiple apertures it can also deliver make-before-break handovers for truly uninterrupted communications.
The multiple antenna components can each connect to separate satellites across multiple constellations and orbits. Or the panels can be combined to deliver increased capacity on a link.
Unlike large parabolic dishes, the low-profile gateway array design enables “hide-in-plain-sight” installations, unobtrusively fitting in areas where a parabolic dish would be easily detected or otherwise unwelcome. At the same time, the ThinKom gateway array delivers the high spectral efficiency its VICTS technology is known for, with low prime power draw.
Ultimately, advanced ground stations like this deliver more efficient use of limited space resources. And perhaps that will also carry over to the inflight connectivity world. In the meantime, the technology used to make this happen is pretty darn cool.
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