Hanwha Phasor's booth at the Satellite 2021 conference and trade show in National Harbor, Maryland, Sept. 7-10. Credit: SpaceNews/Brian Berger

SEOUL, South Korea — Hanwha Phasor, a phased-array antenna maker under South Korea’s conglomerate Hanwha Group seeking its own megaconstellation, has partnered with Wisconsin-based product designer Plexus to develop an ultrathin electronically steered array for satellite communications on the move.

Hanwha said Plexus will provide it with “product development support and design for manufacture, test development and supply chain optimization services” in the run-up to product launch. A Hanwha official told SpaceNews the two companies will jointly develop “an orbit-interoperable, ultra-low profile, high-gain array for satellite communications on the move.” 

The flat, solid-state array is designed to use less power and generate less heat than conventional arrays due to the way it forms beams, according to the official.

While the antenna is aimed at the enterprise market and will be launched for land and marine applications initially, releases for inflight connectivity will follow, she said without elaborating.

“Reinforced by this partnership with Plexus, we are building the foundations of a formidable operation capability which we will continue to enhance as we progress through product launch to customer support in the field,” said Kevin Walsh, chief operating officer of Hanwha Phasor, in a statement.

The Hanwha Phasor division was created after Hanwha bought British antenna maker Phasor Solutions out of bankruptcy in June 2020. Phasor’s proprietary technologies include flat-antenna-beam steering and semiconductor chip design technology required for transmission and reception.

Meanwhile, U.S.-based antenna maker Kymeta, a strategic partner of Hanwha, said Sept. 7 that it successfully tested its u8 broadband terminal on OneWeb’s low-Earth-orbit constellation, achieving 200 megabits per second (Mbps) downlink speeds ahead of the network’s partial launch this year. 

Hanwha invested $30 million in Kymeta in December 2020 amid its expansion in the growing LEO antenna market. Hanwha also recently bought an 8.8% stake in OneWeb for $300 million through its Hanwha Systems defense division.

Park Si-soo covers space industries in South Korea, Japan and other Asian countries. Park worked at The Korea Times — South Korea's leading English language newspaper — from 2007 to 2020. He earned a master’s degree in science journalism from Korea...