OneWeb and SatixFy UK have signed an agreement to develop a new in-flight connectivity (IFC) terminal that will work over the OneWeb network and GEO satellite networks. To do this, SatixFy UK has formed a joint venture with Singapore Technology Engineering (ST Engineering), called JetTalk, to exclusively commercialize the IFC terminal for commercial aviation markets.
The agreement supports OneWeb’s business for the global aerospace market, for commercial, regional, business and government aviation users. The IFC terminal will deliver a "home-equivalent" inflight broadband experience using OneWeb’s LEO constellation, allowing operators to complement their legacy GEO services.
The IFC terminal is based on SatixFy’s electronically steered multibeam antenna (ESMA) technology, which provides multibeam capability and operates simultaneously on multiple LEO and GEO satellites. The terminal was developed with JetTalk.
SatixFy recently completed the development of tile arrays of 576 transmit elements and 1024 receive elements that can be used as building blocks for the planned terminal. The tiles, co-developed with JetTalk, have completed initial testing and are being implemented inside a terminal product.
The OneWeb IFC terminal will integrate the OneWeb modem and a GEO network modem inside the terminal.
Ben Griffin, the OneWeb VP for mobility, said OneWeb is confident of its suitability for all aviation applications: commercial, regional, business and government.
“OneWeb is creating IFC solutions which offer a significant increase in the whole passenger travelling experience. 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,” he said.
Yoel Gat, SatixFy’s CE, said, “The ability to deploy multibeam, multi-satellite, multi-orbit IFC terminals is key in SatixFy’s offering developed in partnership with ST Engineering through our joint venture, JetTalk. 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 UK Space Agency.”
Catherine Mealing-Jones, director of growth at the UK Space Agency, said, “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. 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.”
Elodie Viau, director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, said, “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 on board a plane. 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.”