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High throughput Ku-band satellites for aeronautical applications

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4 Author(s)

Recent advancements in Ku-band high throughput satellites (HTS) will allow commercial Ku-band aeronautical mobile satellite systems (AMSS) to equal or exceed commercial Ka-band AMSS systems on cost and performance. The AMSS market is currently dominated by Ku-band solutions, both in the commercial sector (eXConnect, Row44, Yonder) and the government sector (Tachyon, Boeing Broadband Satellite Network (formerly Connexion), various UAV and ISR systems). All of these systems use conventional continental-scale wide beams that are leased from Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) providers such as Intelsat and Eutelsat. In the next several years the dominance of Ku-band AMSS will be challenged by Ka-band systems such as Inmarsat-5, which use multiple spot beams to offer enhanced performance. Previous work has suggested that these systems may offer better performance and better economics than conventional Ku-band systems [1]. The key insight of this paper is that the performance advantage of spot beam Ka-band systems comes from their smaller beam size rather than their frequency of operation, meaning that a Ku-band spot beam satellite can also be built with similar sized spot beams to Ka-band systems and can achieve competitive cost and performance as compared to a Ka-band spot beam systems. High throughput spot beam Ku-band systems, such as Intelsat's EpicNG system, are now in development and will be fielded in the same timeframe as Inmarsat-5. This result has critical implications for existing users and operators of AMSS systems: - Currently installed Ku-band terminals will be able to take advantage of dramatic improvements in performance when high throughput Ku-band becomes available - Current Ku-band will not have to undergo costly Ka-band retrofits to maintain competitive performance - Operators can continue to invest in Ku-band terminals today without fear of obsolescence in the near future - The AMSS market will continue to be diverse and competitive for years- to come.

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Oct. 29 2012-Nov. 1 2012

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