Modules will transmit feeder link data to ground infrastructure and cross-link data among satellites for global mesh connections
ViaSat Inc. has received a contract with a value in the range of $40 million to provide Ka-band transmit-receive (T/R) modules to Thales Alenia Space for the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation.
Thales Alenia is building the next set of 66 Iridium low-Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites. Thales Alenia plans to integrate the T/R modules to build cross links between satellites and feeder links to earth terminals to facilitate point-to-point routing of data over the network. Iridium NEXT, the second-generation Iridium satellite constellation, is expected to extend the world’s furthest reaching mobile voice and data communications network to 2030 and beyond.
“Our ability to design microwave electronics for the rigorous space environment, and the knowledge we’ve gained in delivering over one million terrestrial Ka-band T/R modules, makes this program a natural fit for us,” said Ken Crawford, VP and general manager for advanced microwave products at ViaSat. “We look forward to working with Thales Alenia to help build this global communications network.”
Iridium NEXT is scheduled to begin launching in 2015. The new network will maintain the Iridium constellation architecture of 66 cross-linked LEO satellites covering 100 percent of the globe. Iridium NEXT satellites are designed to meet the rapidly expanding demand for global communications connections that matter. By supporting enhanced and new services for Iridium customers across diversifying and new markets, Iridium NEXT will advance the business of communications in areas such as:
- Enterprise global voice and data,
- Asset tracking and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications,
- New data-centric applications,
- New opportunities requiring additional power.