ThinKom Proves Its Phased Array Antenna On LEO Constellation

California based ThinKom Solutions has successfully completed a series of antenna interoperability demonstrations using its Ku3030 phased-array antenna…

ThinKom Proves Its Phased Array Antenna On LEO Constellation

California based ThinKom Solutions has successfully completed a series of antenna interoperability demonstrations using its Ku3030 phased-array antenna system. The antenna was tested on the Ku-band low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation and demonstrated handovers between this and the GEO network too.

ThinKom’s tests on the LEO Ku-band have been a success. Photo: APEX

ThinKom’s LEO success

Leading broadband antenna developer ThinKom Solutions has reached a new milestone with its antenna technology. The company performed a series of tests in the first quarter of this year, using a range of certified airborne hardware, including the Ku3030 phased array antenna.

The ThinKom Ku3030 antenna was used in conjunction with a Gogo radome, adaptor plate and power amplifiers, which together form the basis of the 2Ku satcom terminal. In the tests, the 2Ku terminal proved itself capable of rapidly acquiring signal from low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites and robust tracking of the signal.

The results of the tests proved continuous connectivity over a range of elevation angles and a switch time between satellite beams of less than 100 milliseconds. The handoffs from one satellite to another were completed in less than a second and switches between LEO and GEO satellites had largely similar results.

The Ku3030 antenna performed well in all tests. Photo: ThinKom

Bill Milroy, CTO of ThinKom Solutions, shared a statement with Simple Flying, saying,

“LEO satellite networks have the potential to be transformative to the in-flight connectivity experience, but also place new stringent demands on the antenna systems used to track and connect with the rapidly moving satellites. This important demonstration is another milestone verifying that our antenna technology operates effectively in the LEO environment, which is a key requirement for airlines in terms of enhanced network resiliency and flexibility.”

It’s a promising result for ThinKom and proves the potential of this low-profile antenna for the future of inflight connectivity. Throughput rate of more than 350 Mbps and latency of less than 50 milliseconds bodes awfully well for a better-connected inflight experience.

Fit for the future

This latest milestone comes following last month’s successful demonstration of the antenna’s compliance with rules on interference threats. This followed the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the 2019 World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC19) adoption of standards to prevent interference between satellites in GSO and NGSO orbits, as well as between 5G terrestrial services and aeronautical connections using shared frequencies.

At the time, Milroy said,

“Our VICTS phased-array technology ensures full compliance with ITU Article 22 by eliminating elevated sidelobes when operating on NGSOs, thereby protecting against interference in the GSO plane. We have successfully completed numerous trials to demonstrate interoperability between NGSO and GSO satellites with no interference.”

This interoperability confirmation will be key moving forward, as more nations launch 5G terrestrial services. In the USA, Canada, Japan and Korea, plans are firmly in place to use the Ka-band spectrum for 5G deployment, and antennas for future aviation networks need to remain compliant.

Bill Milroy, CTO of ThinKom Solutions (left), accepts the Satellite Technology of the Year Award from Scott Chase, publisher emeritus of Via Satellite. Photo: ThinKom

ThinKom was last year awarded top honors for “Satellite Technology of the Year” by Via Satellite magazine. It was also named the company one of the top 10 hottest businesses in the satellite industry and is clearly on the path to a successful future.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Thai Airways Given One Final Government Lifeline

Struggling national carrier Thai Airways has been given a reason to hope today as it appears the government…

Thai Airways Given One Final Government Lifeline

Struggling national carrier Thai Airways has been given a reason to hope today as it appears the government will support a bailout package for the airline. Although the plan has yet to be officially approved, the aim is to secure the airline’s future by cutting costs, restructuring, and eliminating debt.

The government will only provide a loan if the airline has a real plan to restructure and refinance. Photo: Masakatsu Ukon via Wikimedia

Thai Airways is one step closer to securing its future. We reported last week that a $1.8 billion loan from the government would save the airline. However, the loan was conditional on a plan for how to turn the airline’s fortunes around. Now, it seems the plan is set and, if approved by the government, will mark the first step towards recovery.

Although details of the plan have not been announced, some fundamental changes will occur. Firstly, the airline will have to cut its fleet down from the current 103 aircraft to a more manageable number. Of course, this means that some staff will also have to be cut as the airline tries to minimize spending.

As well as providing loans to Thai Airways, the government has been asked for money by eight other airlines, including Lion Air. Photo: Getty Images

Gaining support

The plan is currently being put to the Thai Airways Union to gain their support before going to the government. As the government has a 51% stake in the airline, any significant funding changes need to be approved by multiple agencies. The union has said it is looking to work with the airline to find the best solution for everyone. However, it also expressed concerns that other parties may not do the same.

In a statement, the union’s president told Reuters that “The union … will be against any policy with a hidden agenda that damages the airline and benefits certain groups”. The government has also said that a team of financial experts will oversee the restructuring. With so many people wanting to help the airline, it could be a case of too many cooks spoil the broth.

The airline currently has an extensive fleet, which will need to be cut down. Any new aircraft will need to be approved by a committee. Photo: Thai Airways

There is no plan B

And the plan needs to succeed. The government has made it clear that the plan needs to be decisive and effective. If it fails to save the airline, there is no plan B, so plan A is the only option. In a news briefing, the Prime Minister commented that “This is an enterprise that we have to rehabilitate and this is the last chance we have to manage the issue so it does not get worse.”

The airline has been struggling financially since 2017, and the global downturn in demand has hit the airline hard. Additionally, The airline’s president resigned after just two years, leaving it leaderless. The airline has not yet responded to our request for comment on who will be leading the airline through this challenging period.

But Thai Airways is an integral part of the country’s national identity. It is a popular airline in Thailand where everything from its name to the airline’s livery reflects Thai culture. The airline connects Thailand to 80 destinations around the world and just celebrated its birthday.

It would be such a shame is Thai Airways does not survive, but with a good plan in place, there is still hope. What do you think the plan to rescue the airline will involve? Do you think it will work? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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