Ka-Band antennas to be integrated on Telesat Lightspeed network


A teaming agreement has been reached for ThinKom Solutions to collaborate with Telesat, to integrate Ka2517 aeronautical antennas with the Telesat Lightspeed LEO satellite broadband network. The two companies will work together to facilitate operations of the Ka2517 antennas on the integrated 298 satellite and ground network, which is expected to begin services in 2023.

The work under the agreement will include integrating the Ka2517 as a complete aeronautical User Terminal solution, followed by formal type approval of the Ka2517 on the Telesat Lightspeed network. The partners expect that the antennas and LEO satellite network will enable downlink speeds of up to 830Mbps and uplink speeds of up to 200Mbps to a single aircraft.

Ka2517 antennas have already been successfully tested on Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite, validating tracking of the LEO satellite, the high spectral efficiencies, and an ‘ultra-low’ latency of 20-40 msec. Additional testing will be conducted to validate both intra- and inter-satellite handovers on the Ka2517 terminal when the Telesat Lightspeed satellites are in orbit.

The Ka2517 uses ThinKom’s VICTS (Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub) technology, and is DO-160-approved and in full production with multiple Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) awarded for both Airbus and Boeing aircraft. ThinKom expects hundreds of these Ka-band aero antennas to be operating on geostationary (GEO) satellites when the Telesat Lightspeed network is ready to support commercial service. ThinKom says it will be “straightforward and inexpensive” for an airline to modify any of these installed GEO-only Ka2517 antenna systems to interoperate with the Telesat Lightspeed LEO satellite constellation and existing GEO networks.

“The collaboration agreement between ThinKom and Telesat will ensure a streamlined path for Ka2517 antennas already in service, as well as new installations, to operate seamlessly over Telesat’s LEO network,” said Bill Milroy, chairman and CTO of ThinKom Solutions. “Our proven VICTS aero antenna technology, combined with the Telesat Lightspeed optical laser-linked global coverage, low latency, high throughput and reconfigurable dynamic beam flexibility, will provide a low-risk, cost-competitive ‘overnight upgrade’ solution for airlines serving both global and regional routes, including high-latitude polar areas.”

Erwin Hudson, Telesat’s VP for Lightspeed system operations added that, “With ThinKom’s Ka2517 antenna development, airlines no longer have to rip-and-replace aircraft antennas to take advantage of the higher throughput, lower latency, and true global connectivity available with the upcoming Telesat Lightspeed LEO network.”

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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