Executives from SpaceX and OneWeb say their companies are working intensely on user terminals so customers will be able to get internet connectivity from their respective low Earth orbit constellations.
Dutch conglomerate Celestia Technologies Group hopes to provide more satellite gateway stations following its December acquisition of Antwerp Space’s ground systems division in Belgium.
GD is selling SATCOM Technologies to "better align its business efforts in core areas."
Ground stations in Ohio and Oregon mark the first two of a planned 12 stations spread out globally to enable communication with satellites, allowing operators to downlink data such as imagery and weather. The stations also enable operators to control their satellites.
Telesat wants a factory capable of building 20 to 25 large LEO satellites a month so that it can have monthly launches. The company is also working with several antenna builders to have user terminals ready for broadband services.
Lockheed Martin’s Verge ground station network should have coverage for satellites passing over the continental United States next year, with the timeline for a global build out determined by what antenna technology the company chooses next.
The target market for the phased array antenna are militarized Boeing jets like the Navy’s P-8 surveillance aircraft and the KC-46 aerial refueling tanker.
Rajanik Mark, Satixfy’s chief operating officer, said the company has created its own chipsets that it can build in-house to bring down the cost of antenna modules that are built into full user terminals.
Cesium Astro, a startup building advanced antennas and communications systems for satellites, raised $12.4 million in a Series A round led by Airbus’ venture capital arm Airbus Ventures.
OneWeb founder Greg Wyler says a self-funded side project of his has developed an antenna module costing $15, paving the way for OneWeb user terminals priced between $200 and $300.
In an interview, Isotropic founder and CEO John Finney said Boeing and Isotropic agreed to several “strategic elements” that go beyond the cash investment.
FIRST UP Satcom | Argos constellation completed • S7 Group wants reusable launcher • GetSAT releases new antenna
After completing the purchase of Sea Launch in April, S7 Group now views expendable rockets as uncompetitive.
Builders of satellite antennas disagree on whether flat panel antennas — widely considered a necessity for planned broadband megaconstellations — can be produced cheaply enough to address the mass consumer market in the near term.
To connect the masses, megaconstellations will need mega antennas mega cheap. Antenna makers need mega orders to make that happen.