The group is led by UK satellite operator OneWeb, using technology from Satixfy Space Systems in Farnborough with £25m funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) Sunrise programme. Satixfy has developed ASICs and RF front end chips for digital electronically-steered antenna and will also develop the ground stations using the technology.
The beam hopping system would allow satellites to switch which part of the world they cover, managing real-time surges in commercial demand or responding to emergencies such as natural disasters. A demonstration satellite is due for launch in 2022.
The other members of the group are Celestia UK and Astroscale UK for the second generation design of the OneWeb satellites that are planned for launch in 2025 as well as the ground stations.
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“Innovation and collaboration are at the core of OneWeb. Working together with our partners, Oneweb will accelerate the development and expansion of our cutting-edge technologies and manufacturing capabilities for the benefit of communities, enterprise and governments around the world,” said Massimiliano Ladovaz, Chief Technical Officer at OneWeb.
Celestia UK, based in Edinburgh, has been given £4.4 million to develop and trial smart ground-station technology with multibeam electronically steered antenna to reduce the footprint and costs of each ground station and increase the efficiency of the whole ground network.
“The pioneering project we are developing looks set to become a game changer in the satcom ground segment market,” said José Alonso, President of Celestia UK, a subsidiary of the Celestia Technologies Group in the Netherlands.
“Gateways and user terminals are key elements in the OneWeb constellation, and Celestia UK’s products will be state-of-the-art and fit for commercial purpose. We are very proud to be part of Sunrise,” he said.
OneWeb currently has 182 satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) with another launch of 36 satellites scheduled for 27th May, with a network of 648 satellites planned. OneWeb will begin providing commercial services across the Arctic regions later this year, expanding to global coverage in 2022.
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