OneWeb and SatixFy UK are to develop a new inflight connectivity (IFC) terminal to work over both geostationary (GEO) satellite networks and OneWeb’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation.
SatixFy UK, a multi-beam antenna and terminal design specialist, has formed the JetTalk joint venture with Singapore Technology Engineering (ST Engineering) to exclusively commercialise the IFC terminal for commercial aviation markets.
The companies say the IFC terminal will use OneWeb’s LEO constellation to deliver a “home-equivalent” inflight broadband experience, while also allowing operators to complement their legacy GEO service.
The product is based on SatixFy’s Electronically Steered Multi-beam Antenna (ESMA) technology, developed with JetTalk, which provides multi-beam capability and operates simultaneously on multiple LEO and GEO satellites.
SatixFy expects to bring ESMA technology to the market earlier than originally anticipated. The company recently completed the development of the Tx tile of 576 elements and the Rx tile of 1024 elements, which can be used as building blocks for the planned terminal. The tiles, which have been developed with JetTalk, have completed initial testing and are currently being implemented inside a terminal product. The OneWeb IFC terminal will integrate the OneWeb modem as well as a GEO network one, inside the terminal.
OneWeb is confident of its suitability for all aviation applications, including commercial, regional, business and governmental aviation use-cases. “OneWeb is creating IFC solutions that offer a significant increase in the whole passenger travelling experience,” said Ben Griffin, vice president of mobility at OneWeb. “This agreement with SatixFy represents a major milestone for OneWeb Aviation, as we plot our path to facilitating onboard connectivity, globally, on commercial airliners and corporate jets, large and small.”
“The ability to deploy multi-beam, multi-satellite, multi-orbit IFC terminals is key in SatixFy’s offering developed in partnership with ST Engineering through our joint venture JetTalk,” said Yoel Gat, CEO at SatixFy. “Aggregating capacity from multiple satellites will give customers the grade of service they expect on flights. This great leap forward is made possible thanks to the continuous support by ESA and the UK Space Agency.”
“The last year has shown connectivity has never been more important to our daily lives, and it is exciting to see SatixFy and OneWeb working together to provide aircraft with broadband internet for the first time,” said Catherine Mealing-Jones, director of growth at the UK Space Agency. “The new aviation terminal will make use of the Prime, Beat and Sx3099 ASIC chips developed with UK Space Agency backing, showing how supporting our most innovative companies leads to results that make a real difference for people all over the world.”
“Space and satellites are becoming increasingly important to the digital economy and there is a need to get data all the time and everywhere – even at 35,000ft,” said Elodie Viau, ESA’s director of telecommunications and integrated applications. “ESA is proud to have supported SatixFy in the design of the chips used for this terminal – enabling the digital transformation of society using telecommunications satellites.”