Telesat chooses ThinKom antenna for Lightspeed Plane Service

ThinKom ThinAir Ka2517. Photo: ThinKom

Canadian satellite operator Telesat will use ThinKom‘s Ka2517 aeronautical antennas to connect aircraft to the upcoming Lightspeed Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite broadband service as part of a strategic agreement the two companies announced on Wednesday.

ThinKom and Telesat will work together to integrate the Ka2517 as a complete aeronautical user terminal solution, followed by the formal type approval of the Ka2517 on the Telesat Lightspeed network, which is expected to go into service in 2023.

Telesat already uses the Ka2517 antennas from ThinKom in existing aircraft. ThinKom and Telesat will run additional tests to validate both intra- and inter-satellite handovers on the Ka2517 terminal when the Telesat Lightspeed satellites are in orbit.

Erwin Hudson, vice president of Lightspeed System Operations at Telesat, said that both new and improved ThinKom antennas would enable aircraft to deliver downlink speeds of up to 830 Mbps and uplink speeds of up to 200 Mbps to achieve.

“With ThinKom’s Ka2517 antenna development, airlines will no longer have to disassemble 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,” said Hudson.

The Ka2517 uses ThinKom’s patented Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub (VICTS) technology and is certified for use on both airbus and Boeing Plane.

ThinKom first announced in September 2018 that it was developing a Ka2517 antenna system for Telesat’s then unnamed LEO constellation. Since then, the company has successfully tested the antenna on Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite and validated tracking of the LEO satellite. ThinKom has also completed similar studies for UK operators Inmarsat.

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