Defense and Space and Intelsat have signed a multiyear Ku-band maritime mobile capacity agreement to bridge the satellite fleet operator’s existing service to its new, high-throughput Epic platform slated to enter service in 2016.
The agreement, announced March 10 at Satellite 2014, will provide global high-throughput satcom services with secure access to Intelsat’s global Ku-band satellite system and terrestrially managed network, IntelsatOne. As of March, Airbus Defense and Space will extend use of these new products in its services portfolio, which is upgradeable to Epic. It is part of Airbus Defense and Space’s new AuroraGlobal offering, a suite of high-throughput satcom services in Ku-, X- and Ka-bands for government, maritime and enterprise markets without the need to change antenna systems.
For maritime customers, the Epic series of high-throughput satellites have potential for new services in the range of 25-60 gbps, roughly 10 times that of traditional satellites. Each Epic spotbeam is expected to support Airbus Defense and Space maritime users with 1-meter antennas featuring downlink speeds of up to 290 mbps and uplink speeds up to 225 mbps.
The deal is similar to an agreement announced in December between Airbus Defense and Space and Inmarsat for the mobile satellite service provider’s new Ka-band broadband network of three-built Global Xpress satellites, the first of which is expected to enter service this summer.
But while Inmarsat and other satellite broadband competitors are offering high-throughput products in Ka-band, Intelsat’s initial Ku-band offering ultimately will be frequency-agnostic, with Epic designed to maximize Intelsat’s existing orbital slots in Ku-band and other frequencies.