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SSTL Starts Operations of Viasat Antenna System

By | January 25, 2018
      SSTL's Spacecraft Operations Centre, Guildford, UK.

      SSTL’s Spacecraft Operations Centre, Guildford, UK. Photo: SSTL.

      Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) and Viasat have started operations of the new Viasat antenna system installed at SSTL’s Guildford headquarters. The new antenna system forms part of the Viasat Real-Time Earth (RTE) network, a hybrid ground and space network designed to provide low-latency satellite data to users on-demand without the need to invest in a dedicated antenna system. Through this relationship, SSTL can now offer satellites with a full range of ground services to their customers, enabling quick delivery of data to customers’ processing centers on a subscription basis, the company stated.

      The antenna system installed at SSTL is a full-motion, 5.4m system that can operate in both S and X bands and is fully-controlled from the Viasat Network Operation Centre in Colorado. The Guildford site joins other sites in the United States, Argentina, Australia and Sweden as part of Viasat’s roll-out of the RTE network.

      The new antenna system was installed in November 2017, and it has been successfully used to command and control SSTL satellites, thus fully testing out the network architecture, according to the company. Seamless routing from the SSTL Satellite Operations Center (SOC) in Guildford through the RTE network to the satellites has been achieved and final testing is now underway. The companies expect it to be completed by the end of this month.

      “Viasat and SSTL have worked closely together on the integration of SSTL specific uplink and downlink protocols into the RTE ground station equipment to achieve plug-n-play compatibility between the satellites and SSTL’s SOC. SSTL’s satellites will now be able to utilize any of the ground stations within Viasat’s RTE network seamlessly with no hardware changes needed,” said Kent Leka, general manager of antenna systems at Viasat.

      In addition to the RTE network, SSTL’s ground infrastructure includes two ground stations in the United Kingdom and a ground station mini rack at Kongsberg Satellite Services facilities in Svalbard, Norway.

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