What do US policymakers make of UK strategic thinking in the wake of the Integrated Review, and how could subsequent events affect the transatlantic defence relationship?
ViaSat commits to launch a satellite of its own
Californian-based satcoms equipment and service supplier ViaSat has announced that its first satellite is to enter service in the second half of 2011.
Being built by Space Systems Loral and set for launch on an ILS Proton rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, ViaSat-1 is a Ka-band spacecraft designed to supply US domestic Internet service providers with huge amounts of capacity for use by business and domestic users on the ground. It will offer more capacity than all of the other North American Ka-band satellites put together, and will support a standard data rate of 2Mbit/sec, faster than most ADSL and better than more than 50 per cent of cable services.
ViaSat-1 will not be used for mobile services. But the fact of its existence further emphasises the substance of the company’s service provision ambitions, as expressed in its emerging Yonder broadband offering to aviation.
Yonder is based on a combination of leased Ku-band satellite capacity and ViaSat’s patented ArcLight networking technology. According to the company, ArcLight’s use of intelligent spread-spectrum modems facilitates the use of small, low-cost aircraft antennas capable of mimicking a larger antenna aperture. ViaSat says ArcLight also eliminates signal blocking by line-of-sight obstructions such as helicopter blades, and, thanks to its patented paired-carrier multiple-access (PCMA) frequency-sharing capability, allows the same bandwidth to be used for links to and from the aircraft.
ViaSat is offering three different onboard equipment fits, for medium and large business jets and VIP aircraft in the Airbus ACJ/Boeing BBJ class and above.
The VMT-1500 package includes a tail-mounted mechanically steered antenna capable of supporting up to 10Mb/sec to the aircraft and 1Mbit/sec in the other direction. VMT-1520 features a fuselage-mounted phased-array antenna and offers 5Mbit/sec to the aircraft and 256kbit/sec from. VMT-1560 for VIP types includes the HR-6400 top-mounted phased-array antenna, rated at 30Mbit/1Mbit.
The ViaSat network currently covers North America, the North Pacific, the Caribbean, the North Atlantic, Europe and the Persian Gulf. Expansion continues, with the aim of reaching worldwide coverage by early next year.
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