Sea Technology

NOV 2018

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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Page 25 of 52 November 2018 | ST 25 ium Certus will set a new standard with small, robust, all solid-state equipment providing the highest L-band throughput to any seas. It is the technology maritime has waited decades for—all of the benefits of resilient L-band frequencies combined with high bandwidth and truly global coverage. Thales's partnership with Iridium for the solution could be said to have started in 2010, when it was an- nounced that Thales would provide for the construction of 81 communication satellites in the Iridium NEXT low-orbit constellation. In addition to enabling a new network and new com- munications devices, Iridium NEXT was also required to offer complete backward compatibility with current devices and services. Thales Alenia Space developed a sophisticated, yet flexible solution to meet this require- ment. Based on its LEO platform product line, specifi- cally developed for constellations, each Iridium NEXT satellite carries a sophisticated active transmit/receive L-band antenna, Ka-band crosslink and feeder link an- tennas, two-axis solar arrays and advanced onboard pro- cessing hardware and software needed to manage and route voice and data traffic through the Iridium network. Writ large, the Iridium NEXT initiative reflects the growing reality that in the commercial and government space, the future of space-based communications tech- nology resides with high-throughput satellites (HTS). Last year, the total world commercial satellite market was 53 percent non-HTS, 35 percent partial and 12 percent full HTS. The HTS proportion of the market will likely double in the next few years, driven by government and consum- er demand for data. Thales Innovation: Enabling Certus Broadband Connectivity Thales has long been a provider of mobile commu- nications solutions and space-based technologies. "For decades, Thales customers have been changing the way we travel, communicate and connect," says Thales Sat- Com Solutions Director Brian Aziz. "Along the way, they are changing how we perceive the world around us, and how we connect with people, systems, content and data." With 3.4 billion internet users, 2 billion people on social networks and 2 billion smartphone users making up 70 percent of the global population, industry and customer expectations for ease of use and access to the world's digital infrastructure are evolving rapidly. When Thales began development of VesseLINK on the Iridium Certus network last year, the aim was to provide yet an- other critical industry with a vital communications life- line and access to the digital tools and online networks familiar to any land-based customer or enterprise. Carried over Iridium's network of satellites, VesseLINK offers coverage of 100 percent of the globe, including the poles. The solution provides highly reliable, mobile voice, text and internet communications, and allows users to simultaneously communicate using IP data ses-

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