Redmond, Wash.-based Kymeta Corp. says it has completed its first shipment of electronically steered flat-panel antennas to OneWeb for that company’s satellite-based data network.
In a news release timed to coincide with the Satellite 2023 conference in Washington, D.C., Kymeta said its Hawk u8 terminal will be available for OneWeb’s fixed-location applications, and will soon be available for land-based and sea-based mobile communications. OneWeb is putting the finishing touches on its constellation in low Earth orbit, or LEO, and is planning to ramp up commercial broadband service within a few months.
“The satellite industry is entering an exciting new era, as every major industry from agriculture to defense can increasingly tap mobile broadband as an efficient and effective means to transform their operations,” said Walter Berger, Kymeta’s president and co-CEO. “The race to capitalize on the opportunity will be won by a group relay, not a single-company sprint. Partnerships such as our ongoing collaboration with OneWeb, along with Kymeta’s investments and innovation, will accelerate new applications to connect industries on Earth to capacity in space.”
OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson said Kymeta’s u8 system will give customers “an exciting new choice of terminal for reliable, efficient connectivity to our LEO network.”
Kymeta, which was founded in 2012 with backing from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, makes use of an innovative type of technology called metamaterials to build antennas that can be steered by software, without moving parts. Its hybrid cellular-satellite terminals can facilitate communications in hard-to-reach areas — an application that’s been of particular interest to defense customers.
The rise of broadband networks is a leading theme at Satellite 2023. Here are some other revelations:
- OneWeb announced that it’s signed a letter of intent with Amazon Web Services to explore bundling satellite connectivity with cloud services and edge computing services. Clint Crosier, AWS’ director for aerospace and satellite services, said “we are excited to work with OneWeb in their efforts to provide cloud-based connectivity and deliver innovative services to customers worldwide.”
- CNBC reported that SpaceX plans to begin testing its Starlink satellite-to-cell service with Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile this year. Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX vice president of Starlink enterprise sales, said that SpaceX’s factory in Redmond is manufacturing six satellites per day, and that SpaceX currently has “well over” 1 million Starlink users.
- Ball Aerospace said a prototype payload equipped with a version of Microsoft’s Azure Orbital Space SDK platform is functioning as planned in low Earth orbit after its integration onto a Loft Orbital satellite that was launched in January. Algorithms hosted onboard the satellite are able to remove obstructing clouds from Earth imagery and prioritize the downlink of data based on image content, Ball Aerospace said. Steve Kitay, senior director of Microsoft Azure Space, said the mission is “a step forward in bringing our mutual customers a standardized platform for application development in space.”