In today's ever-changing world, portable earth stations continue to gain popularity among satellite users. Whether for news crews, emergency aid workers, troops or businesses/institutions needing fast on-the-ground connectivity, portable earth stations are a logical, speedy solution.
Not surprisingly, satellite equipment manufacturers are capitalizing on this demand by offering a wealth of innovative, complete portable product solutions. Here are some of them, as seen at SATELLITE 2003, in marketing brochures and product demos, held in Washington, DC, February 26-28.
Earth Stations Go To War
At show time, the situation in Iraq was heating up. Hence, it was no surprise to see military-oriented portable earth stations on the show floor. One such product was the Tactical Multi-band Satellite Terminal (T-MST), built by ITT Industries.
The T-MST is a HMMWV (Hummer) mounted satellite system that can be configured to uplink to C- Ku-, X- and military Ka-band satellites. All of its earth station controls are housed behind fold-up panels on either side of the T-MST's equipment module. Meanwhile, on top of its roof sits a fold-down satellite antenna, while the driver and operator work inside the Hummer's pickup-style cab.
As for toughness the T-MST can operate in temperatures ranging from -20 degreesC to +49 degreesC, in line with MIL-STD-810F. Meanwhile, this MTMCTEA-certified truck can drive on and off fixed-wing transports, be airlifted by helicopter, tie down to either rail cars or barges, and yes, drive itself to and from whatever location its capabilities are needed. In short, ITT's T-MST is one portable earth station for today's wide-ranging military deployments.
Of course, having mobile satellite communications on the battlefield is of little use, if enemy jamming prevents signals from getting through. Hence the reason for the SMART-T (Secure Mobile Antijam Reliable Tactical Terminal), manufactured by Raytheon. Designed as part of a U.S. Army-led project, Raytheon says the SMART-T provides robust, jam- resistant, reliable multi-channel communications for field commanders, all carried on a Hummer platform. But that is not all: beyond providing solid satellite links, the SMART-T allows the U.S. military to extend its mobile radio communications beyond the horizon, ensuring connectivity during breakout situations. Finally, the SMART-T can also be removed from the Hummer for field deployment. Amazingly, a single soldier can accomplish breakdown and set-up in 20 minutes each time, according to Raytheon.