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SES, ThinKom and Hughes Report Multi-Orbit Airborne Terminal Demonstration  

By Rachel Jewett | February 8, 2023

      SES’s GEO and MEO fleet. Render by SES / BusinessWire

      SES, ThinKom and Hughes Network Systems reported a multi-orbit satellite service demonstration for government airborne missions which the company’s said shows multi-orbit resilience for critical missions. 

      The companies tested a ThinKom ThinAir Ka2517 airborne satcom terminal over SES’s Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO) and Geostationary (GEO) satellite networks at ThinKom’s Hawthorne, California facilities and on an aircraft in Mojave, California. The demonstration included Hughes software-defined ruggedized HM400 airborne modem for roaming across the satellites. 

      The testing validated the latest ThinAir Ka2517 software interfacing with the Hughes HM400 modem for MEO and GEO operations. The Ka2517 is based on ThinKom’s VICTS phased-array technology.

      “The demonstrated architecture leveraging the phased-array antenna and open-standards modem has the versatility to interoperate with satellites in GEO and non-geostationary (NGSO) orbits, ensuring global connectivity that meets the governments’ Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) requirements for multi-orbit operations,” said Will Tong, Vice President of Strategic Government Initiatives for SES. 

      SES and Hughes have been a part of similar multi-orbit demonstrations with Honeywell and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.

      Correction: A previous version of this story gave an incorrect usage statistic for the Ka2517 antenna. The Ka2517 is based on the VICTS antenna, but doesn’t have the same commercial usage as the VICTS.