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Comtech Details How New Satellite Business Segments Will Meet Customer Needs

By | May 10, 2022

Daniel Gizinski and Vagan Shakhgildian of Comtech at the SATELLITE 2022 conference. Photo: Conor Smith, Comtech

Comtech Telecommunications recently established two new business lines focused on satellite ground technologies in a bid to capitalize on multi-orbit and supply chain trends in the satellite industry, business unit leaders tell Via Satellite

Comtech Satellite Network Technologies, Inc., a U.S. corporation, is led by Daniel Gizinski and will be based in a new Comtech’ manufacturing and technology facility in Chandler, Arizona, and the existing Santa Clara, California facility. This business segment will focus on radio frequency (RF) and modem products that are designed and built in the U.S., as Comtech EF Data and Xicom-branded products.

And Comtech Satellite Network Technologies Corp., is based in a new technology center located in Montreal, Quebec and led by Dr. Vagan Shakhgildian, the former CEO of UHP Networks. This is the flagship office for the international business and commercial business. 

The U.S. corporation will serve increasing demand for products built in the U.S., Gizinski said in a recent interview with Via Satellite

“Recent events — COVID, supply chain disruptions, unrest in Europe has shown there’s a need to have capability to build electronic products in America. Throughout the two years of COVID and supply chain disruption, we’ve been able to maintain deliveries on all of our modem products. At this point, we’re still delivering products in 30 to 45 days, in most cases for modems.” 

Gizinski said Comtech is bullish on the impact of multi-orbit constellations combining assets in Geostationary Orbit (GEO), Low-Earth Orbit (LEO), and Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO) on the company’s business. “On the government and allied country side, we are seeing a lot of demand for support for multi-orbit constellations. The ability for a modem and terminal to roam between a system that’s operating in Geostationary Orbit, LEO, and MEO, without having to change modems or reconfigure,” he said. 

Some of this growth will come from ground station technology for Q- and V-band constellations. Gizinski estimates that Comtech has 80% to 90% market share for Q- and V-band ground systems, and he sees this as a beneficial position as some prospective constellations target those frequencies, including OneWeb and Boeing.  

“Going forward, V-band will move from TT&C [telemetry & tracking], links and feeder links, to the user terminal-type domain. We’re very well positioned not only for the TWTA [traveling wave tube amplifiers], but also for solid state in those bands as well,” said Shakhgildian.

Louis Dubin, senior vice president of Product Management & Marketing for Comtech Satellite Network Technologies, said the company is also working to make its new VSAT platform Elevate multi-orbit capable. The company has done preliminary testing and is planning to release that capability within a year.

Shakhgildian commented that the Elevate platform brings together different architectures developed by Comtech and UHP before the acquisition. Specifically, it combines Comtech’s Heights H-DNA technology, based on proprietary return link waveform and bandwidth allocation mechanism and UHP’s multi-frequency time division multiple access (MF-TDMA) waveform.

He believes this work could play a role in greater standardization for the ground segment. 

“Comtech Elevate is truly a universal modem. We were able to implement both waveforms and access methods on a very compact, low cost hardware platform,” Shakhgildian said. “There is nothing that is preventing us from implementing other waveforms provided their vendors can make those available to us and the rest of the industry. … Maybe the time has come for us and maybe some others in the industry to advocate for broader standardization.”

Overall, these changes to the business lines bring Comtech closer to its customers, Gizinski  said. “Companies always benefit from ensuring that they’re closely connected to their customers, they’re able to listen and they’re equipped to give customers what they need. We made some changes that allow us to do that and I think it’s going to position us well for growth over the next few years,” he said.