ThinKom Solutions and Telesat Sign Agreement to Integrate Ka-Band Antennas on Telesat Lightspeed™ Satellite Network

Ka2517 Aero Satellite Antennas to Be Tested and Certified for Operation on New Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite Constellation

August 3, 2021 Ottawa, ON and Hawthorne, CA Photo(s): By ThinKom
Telesat Lightspeed™ Satellite

ThinKom Solutions and Telesat today announced a teaming agreement to collaborate on integrating ThinKom's Ka2517 aeronautical antennas with the advanced Telesat Lightspeed™ LEO satellite broadband network.

The two companies will work together to facilitate operations of the Ka2517 antennas on the fully integrated 298 satellite and ground network, which is expected to begin services in 2023. The efforts under the agreement will include integration of the Ka2517 as a complete aeronautical User Terminal solution, followed by formal type approval of the Ka2517 on the Telesat Lightspeed network.

Based on the high performance and efficiency of the Ka2517 antennas and Telesat's advanced LEO satellite network, downlink speeds are expected to reach up to 830 Mbps and uplink speeds up to 200 Mbps to a single aircraft.

Ka2517 antennas have already been successfully tested on Telesat's Phase 1 LEO satellite, validating tracking of the LEO satellite, extremely high spectral efficiencies, and ultra-low latency of 20-40 msec. Additional testing will be conducted to validate both intra- and inter-satellite handovers on the Ka2517 terminal when the Telesat Lightspeed satellites are in orbit.

The Ka2517, utilizing ThinKom's patented VICTS (Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub) technology, is DO-160-approved and currently in full production with multiple Supplemental Type Certificates awarded for both Airbus and Boeing aircraft. ThinKom expects hundreds of these Ka-band aero antennas to be operating on geostationary (GEO) satellites when the Telesat Lightspeed network is ready to support commercial service. It will be straightforward and inexpensive for an airline to modify any of these installed GEO-only Ka2517 antenna systems to interoperate with the Telesat Lightspeed LEO satellite constellation and existing GEO networks.

"The collaboration agreement between ThinKom and Telesat will ensure a streamlined path for Ka2517 antennas already in service as well as new installations to operate seamlessly over Telesat's LEO network," said Bill Milroy, Chairman and CTO of ThinKom Solutions. "Our proven VICTS aero antenna technology, combined with the Telesat Lightspeed optical laser-linked global coverage, low latency, high throughput and reconfigurable dynamic beam flexibility, will provide a low-risk, cost-competitive 'overnight upgrade' solution for airlines serving both global and regional routes, including high-latitude polar areas."

"Technology's quickening pace coupled with ever-growing passenger internet demands are putting increased pressure on connectivity decisions airlines are making today," said Erwin Hudson, Telesat's Vice President, Lightspeed System Operations. "With ThinKom's Ka2517 antenna development, airlines no longer have to rip-and-replace aircraft antennas to take advantage of the higher throughput, lower latency, and true global connectivity available with the upcoming Telesat Lightspeed LEO network."