Intelsat General, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: “I”) announced today unprecedented performance in sending signals to and from a high-throughput Intelsat EpicNG satellite using a small, flat-panel antenna designed for aeronautical applications by Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (NASDAQ, TASE: GILT).
A series of tests were performed using Gilat’s BlackRay 71 airborne terminal, with its mechanically steered 6” by 6” flat panel array. Data was sent from the small antenna to the recently launched Intelsat 29e satellite at a rate of 3.9 Mbps with an efficiency of 0.26 bits/Hz. This compares to an uplink rate of about 1.8 Mbps and efficiency of 0.09 bits/Hz achieved with a conventional Ku widebeam satellite. This link was effectively two times the rate and almost three times more efficient than traditional widebeam satellites.
The Gilat terminal is designed for a new generation of small Class III Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) that are coming into service for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations, and other non-military government and commercial applications.
“These tests show that the first Intelsat EpicNG satellite delivers superior performance using Gilat’s very small airborne antenna,” said Skot Butler, President of Intelsat General. “The satellite receivers are more sensitive and can pick up a smaller and weaker signal better than we thought possible when we did ground testing prior to launch.”
“The outstanding test results are testimony to our successful strategy to support the growing UAS/ISR airborne market.” said Moshe (Chico) Tamir, Corporate VP and President, Strategic Initiatives, at Gilat. “The transmission of full-motion HD video at a bit-rate of 3.9Mbps using only 15.2 MHz of bandwidth, while using such small terminals, is a breakthrough, with wide-ranging implications for both military and commercial markets.”
The initial demonstration was conducted at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS test site in Blackstone, VA and attended by representatives from the U.S. DoD. This facility was opened in 2013 to support the safe and efficient integration of UAS into the National Airspace System. Additional, follow-up testing was conducted at Intelsat’s Mountainside Teleport near Hagerstown, MD.