Intelsat, operator of one of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial networks and leading provider of inflight connectivity (IFC), today announced the launch of a new IFC solution for use by airline customers.
Lighter, and more versatile than previous options, the new ESA-based solution is a first in a new line of ground-breaking multi-orbit terminals developed by Intelsat with the capability to interoperate with Intelsat’s established geostationary satellites (GEO) in addition to new Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) or Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites. This important feature will deliver direct benefits to airlines and passengers.
- GEO satellites, such as Intelsat’s constellation of Epic satellites as well as the new generation of Software Defined Satellites (SDS) provide deep layers of capacity, redundancy, and coverage important in airline hub-cities and across busy oceanic corridors.
- LEO satellites will deliver improved performance with some cloud-based productivity applications, quicker browsing and interactive experiences on a global basis. Unlike prior airline Wi-Fi solutions, LEOs provide coverage in Polar regions adding hours of additional connectivity to intercontinental polar flights.
The new terminal fits a variety of aircraft and mission profiles ranging from the smallest commercial aircraft to international widebody aircraft. Standing just 3½ inches (90mm) high on the fuselage, it delivers operational savings driven by a low-profile installation that reduces drag, fuel burn and carbon emissions. The antenna’s first-of-its-kind solid state design provides market leading reliability for aircraft operators and relies on mature Electronically Scanned Array Antenna technology from Ball Aerospace, while leveraging design and integration partner, Stellar Blu Solutions,’ modular design that will offer simplified maintenance, access and improved reliability.
Commenting on the new terminal, Intelsat’s SVP, Commercial Aviation, Dave Bijur, said “We’ve always been a leader in revolutionary aero terminal design and integration; our 2Ku antenna remains the market leader and we’re now complementing the line-up with this new option. The Intelsat terminal not only provides the most flexible solution for customers but is built for true multi-orbit operation which will outperform emerging competitors that are using smaller ESA solutions capable of working solely on LEO networks.”
Intelsat anticipates a first installation on a CRJ-700 in late 2022, with production installations to occur roughly a year later.
“One thing we’re hearing consistently is that our airline partners demand a provider that’s got substantial aeronautical expertise and depth. With Ball Aerospace and Stellar Blu at our side, we know the Intelsat package puts airlines in a winning position,” Bijur added