SatixFy Communications, one of the leaders in next-generation satellite communication systems based on in-house developed chipsets, is playing a critical role in enabling the first-ever demonstration of a high-speed, low-latency link with a LEO satellite constellation incorporating 5G. SatixFy has partnered with OneWeb under the ESA Sunrise Partnership Project, with support from the UK Space Agency, to develop a compact electronically steered multi-beam array suitable for mobility services over both LEO and GEO satellites simultaneously. The terminal can also be integrated into 5G equipment to allow end-to-end access to a LEO constellation network via a 5G signal.
On June 28, 2022, a demonstration at the ESA/ECSAT facilities in Harwell achieved the world’s first-ever 5G backhaul communications connected to a LEO satellite constellation, using a compact electronic antenna powered by SatixFy to connect to a LEO satellite constellation operated by OneWeb. The demonstration involved a super-compact satellite terminal mounted on a car. The user terminal antenna performed several satellite and beam handovers, along with frequency hopping over the OneWeb LEO network at 1,200 km, while maintaining a simultaneous and continuous link with a GEO satellite at an altitude of 36,000 Km. Live 4K UHDTV video and audio streaming took place from the GEO satellite.
The new super compact user terminal will undergo further testing to unlock its full capabilities with LEO and GEO links for mobility services. Once testing and certification are completed, the user terminal will be optimized for different mobility use cases, including IFC, with the goal of providing an effective system for OneWeb commercial services for any moving platform on land, sea, and air.
Simona Gat, SatixFy UK CEO said, “I’m proud of this important milestone achieved by the whole SatixFy team, who cooperated together with our partners from OneWeb and CGI, with great support from the UK Space Agency and ESA. This test further validates our products addressing two of our major target markets: electronically-steered multibeam user terminals for mobility and the use of our terminals to address the large space-enabled 5G market. It has been a pleasure to work with OneWeb to demonstrate this unique capability.”
Massimiliano Ladovaz, CTO at OneWeb said, “At OneWeb, our approach to delivering connectivity is through collaboration with world-class industry partners who share our vision of a truly connected world. We’re therefore delighted to partner with SatixFy on this UK and European Space Agency-funded research program. We are working together to connect those hardest to reach with new Space-based LEO connectivity. The ground-breaking SatixFy electronically steered array antenna technology will, once in commercial production, enable mobility customers such as airlines, train operators, and coach companies to leverage the power not only of the OneWeb LEO network but also terrestrial 5G and legacy GEO satellite networks. A hybrid, multi-beam, multi-constellation solution that ensures that passengers remain connected no matter where they are – be it mid-air, mid-ocean or in the most remote corners of the world.”
Elodie Viau, ESA Telecom Director said, “This test is the first of its kind, and is a real team collaboration by ESA, OneWeb, and SatixFy UK. It connected the ESA 5G/6G Hub at the ESA/ECSAT Harwell site through OneWeb satellites, using the super flat and advanced antenna made by SatixFy UK for mobility services. Through the Sunrise Partnership Project, we aim to show that 5G high quality and speed connectivity is now a reality, to the benefit of everybody, every day and everywhere.”
Dr. Paul Brate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said “This is a world-first which demonstrates the vital role that space can play in improving connectivity. SatixFy’s antenna technology, developed with UK Space Agency support, is advancing satellite communications, enabling new markets in collaboration with companies like OneWeb. The results of this trial will help transform how satellite and terrestrial networks interact, accelerating the development of technologies such as connected vehicles and autonomous cars. It is a great example of why we’re supporting ESA’s state-of-the-art 5G/6G hub in Harwell, which will create new commercial opportunities and catalyze investment into the UK’s thriving space sector.”
Click here to learn more about SatixFy’s In-Flight Connectivity Solution.
Click here to learn more about ESA Sunrise Partnership Project.