Satcube CEO: Maritime Operators ‘Reached Their Saturation Point’

[Satellite TODAY Insider 05-08-12] Swedish satellite technology developer Satcube is in the process of developing terminals and a new antenna system to handle next-generation maritime satellite capacity, the company announced May 7.

   Satcube CEO Jakob Kallmér said his company’s development efforts are being driven by rapid growth in the maritime sector for broadband applications at sea, as well as increasing demands for faster data transfer speeds.
   “Levels of [maritime broadband] use are blossoming as communication, control and monitoring are increasingly being carried via onshore operative nodes,” Kallmér told Satellite TODAY Insider. “Inmarsat and Iridium, the two transmission systems currently in use, have reached their saturation point, and the next generation of satellite communication for the maritime industry is now starting to take shape.”
   Several international MSS and FSS satellite operators are on the verge of launching new global capacity to expand coverage in the maritime market. Kallmér asserted that maritime frequencies have to be increased in order to obtain higher bandwidths, which places more stringent demands on the communications equipment on board ships.
   “These satellite terminals need to be more accurate and demonstrate greater efficiency than the old L-band system terminals they replace,” said Kallmér. “Availability and robustness requirements continue to be extensive. However, customers aren’t prepared to pay much more for the hardware. That’s why you need to take a new approach when developing this type of terminal.”
   Satcube also is working on a new, high-efficiency antenna system designed to drive down the cost of active components onboard ships. The antenna also will feature an ability to maintain position in relation to a satellite without the need for optical gyros.
   The platform, according to Kallmér, also features an active dampening system, which eliminates shocks and vibrations while minimizing service interruptions and the number of system failures. “We drew inspiration from the automotive industry, incorporating simple, inexpensive components without stretching the limits of function or quality,” he said. “This approach has resulted in a number of innovations for which we have submitted patent applications.”
   Kallmér said Satcube would release a beta version of the system this winter to test the concept in the operational environment of the North Sea. He also expects that a fully industrialized product will be available by mid-2013. 
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