ThinKom and KSAT explore new approach to satellite ground stations

April 24, 2023
New antenna architecture to deliver more reliable connectivity in a smaller footprint, with lower total cost of ownership.

HAWTHORNE, Calif. - Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT), a  provider of communication services in Tromso, Norway, and ThinKom Solutions, a provider of phased-array antenna technology in Hawthorne, Calif., have announced a partnership to bring ThinKom’s gateway array to market, targeting earth observation, broadband, Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TT&C), and other ground station as a service (GSaaS) applications.

This partnership will combine KSAT’sground station experience with ThinKom’s new gateway arrays built on VICTS (Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub) technology. KSAT’s ambitious network expansion relies on utilizing  new technologies and ThinKom’s phased array antenna technology is the key to enabling KSAT to continue to scale.

ThinKom's modular, scalable gateway arrays are engineered to provide a customizable, software-defined ground segment solution. The multi-beam, multi-band, multi-orbit system allows gateway providers to keep pace with advancements in satellite networks due to the system flexibility which digitally combines independently controlled antennas into compact,  efficient arrays. This type of architecture enables rapid deployment, software-defined beamforming, and superior satellite acquisition and tracking.

This new gateway array architecture will join KSAT’s global footprint of more than 270 parabolic apertures spread across every continent. This new architecture will reduce total cost of ownership through hot-swappable modules, reduced infrastructure, installation, and maintenance costs, more efficient spectrum utilization, low power consumption, and a smaller physical and visual footprint when compared to traditional parabolic dishes.

"The next generation of satellite networks requires a new paradigm in the ground segment," said Bill Milroy, ThinKom Chairman and Chief Technology Officer. "ThinKom has a strong history of delivering extremely reliable, high-performance antennas across a range of frequency bands. We are excited to bring this technology to the commercial ground segment in partnership with KSAT, a technology leader in delivering innovative ground station solutions. By increasing aperture density while reducing total cost of ownership, we can deliver a step change for future-proof gateway connectivity to every orbit and at every frequency, from S-band through Ka-band and beyond."

The array repoints from a setting satellite to a rising one nearly instantly, matching a key advantage of electronically steered antennas. At the same time, the ThinKom solution delivers full-duplex, horizon-to-horizon, make-before-break connectivity for truly uninterrupted communications with NGSO constellations.

With a fully operational system targeted for 2024, this collaboration between KSAT and ThinKom exemplifies the type of future-forward thinking needed to deliver a new paradigm for satellite ground stations.

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