OneWeb is Developing Airline Mobility Terminal With GDC Advanced Technology
OneWeb has signed a joint development agreement with GDC Advanced Technology to develop an In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) terminal to connect aircraft to OneWeb’s satellite constellation. GDC Advanced Technology is an aircraft modification and technology company.
The new terminal is based on the Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA) technology developed by Ball Aerospace. OneWeb said in a Tuesday announcement that it has already undergone early lab and ground testing at GDC facilities in Fort Worth, Texas. Initial flight testing on a Boeing 777 is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022, with certification expected in early 2023.
OneWeb said the terminals have been engineered so airlines can use a hybrid Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) and Geostationary Orbit (GEO) solution, which the company expects will be a key differentiator as airlines adopt LEO connectivity.
“This agreement with GDC Advanced Technology represents a major milestone for OneWeb as we accelerate our plans to bring globally consistent and game-changing in-flight connectivity to aviation users everywhere – regardless of the size of aircraft they fly on,” said Ben Griffin, vice president of Mobility at OneWeb.
The terminal will initially be available in two sizes, a traditional ARINC 791 for larger commercial airliners, and a smaller installation for regional jets, single aisle and business aviation platforms. This agreement includes development of installation certification for several aircraft types, and pursuit of line-fit offers with major airframe manufacturers.
OneWeb is pursuing a number of user terminals developed with industry partners. Intellian Technologies is working on two terminals for OneWeb, and Satixfy has also been selected to build an IFC terminal.