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SES expands O3b mPOWER partner ecosystem with Comtech for carbon fiber antenna systems

SES announced that Comtech Telecommunications Corp is supplying antenna systems for its second-generation medium earth orbit (MEO) O3b mPOWER gateways. The antenna hardware comes in a range of sizes – from the 5.5 metre gateway intended for telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C) to smaller antennas for enterprise and government use. The antennas can also be deployed as customer gateways for O3b mPOWER.

SES expands O3b mPOWER partner ecosystem with Comtech for carbon fiber antenna systems
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O3b mPOWER is the successor to SES’s first-generation O3b MEO constellation. The software-driven communications system is capable of delivering connectivity services from tens of megabits to multiple gigabits per second. It is scheduled for launch in the coming months and expected to be operational by end of 2022.

Based on a number of innovations, the new Comtech antennas are a significant improvement over the existing O3b gateways as the dual-drive X/Y antennas offer huge advantages over traditional Azimuth/Elevation systems, including: 

• Precision tracking – Elimination of the keyhole constraint and the facility for precision pointing and tracking through continuous hemispheric movement; 

• Multi-orbit support – Flexibility to operate both GEO satellites and MEO constellations from a non-GEO gateway, resulting in cost efficiencies and resiliency; 
   
• Easier installation – The 5.5-metre Ka-band kingpost, dish ring, drive cabinets and cabling is installed and tested in the factory and shipped as an assembly, greatly reducing on-site installation timescales;

• Carbon fibre reflector – The 5.5m reflector design leverages the intrinsic benefits of carbon fibre to provide a rigid structure that is much lighter than alternative materials; 

• Lower CapEx and OpEx – The lighter-weight reflector design can utilise smaller drive motors, experiences less component stress for longer life and lower power consumption during the constant trace/retrace operation needed for non-geostationary satellite tracking, resulting in overall lower capital and operational costs; and

• Surface accuracy – Carbon fibre reflector surface accuracy is stable over extreme temperature ranges and is particularly ideal for gateways situated in equatorial regions and in areas subject to excessive daily temperature fluctuations. 

“We are pleased that SES selected Comtech’s X/Y antenna products for critical telemetry, tracking and control facilities as well as customer data gateways and user terminals to support their next-generation O3b mPOWER ground station infrastructure. These antenna products provide unique technical and commercial advantages in support of non-geostationary constellations over traditional antenna products,” said Michael Porcelain, President and Chief Executive Officer of Comtech Telecommunications Corp.

“These next-generation gateway antennas are especially important for customers who want to land data at their own site whilst being able to tap into the differentiated O3b mPOWER connectivity services. For our government customers, this is especially attractive since we have a compelling offering with our low-latency, high-throughput services delivered in a secure environment as if it they were using their own dedicated satellite network. This is made possible, in part, due to these gateways that are now more resilient, lighter and easier to install,” said Stewart Sanders, Executive Vice President of Technology and O3b mPOWER manager at SES. 

More information www.ses.com