Kepler and Cobham complete 150Mbps Ku-band LEO trials on 65cm antenna

Cobham SATCOM has announced the completion of connectivity trials over the Kepler Communications LEO Ku-band satellite network ahead of the roll-out of commercial services, recording downlink rates of 150 Mbps and uplink rates of 130Mbps on a 65cm SAILOR 600 VSAT antenna with a 6W BUC.

The two companies signed a strategic partnership at the end of last year to offer high capacity data services over Kepler’s low-Earth orbit (LEO) network through a ‘User Terminal-as-a-Service’ (UTaaS) offering.

The new UTaaS partnership has already seen two re-configured Sea Tel 9711 antennas installed on the Polarstern research vessel, which is set to complete its voyage later this year, and the two companies say they are currently working on a number of live customer trials using the smaller SAILOR 600 unit.

Kepler completed the first launch for its GEN1 series of satellites on September 28, adding two new satellites to its network providing support for both Ku-band and narrowband spectrum from a single satellite. The next launch in the programme is currently scheduled for December 2020, with a total of 15 GEN1 satellites planned.

The company already had three existing demonstration and validation satellites in orbit, two launched in 2018 and a third launched just weeks prior to the GEN1 mission.

“The rapid data speeds obtained on the recent trials of our SAILOR 600 VSAT Ku on Kepler’s LEO network, previously not seen in the maritime industry, represent a new frontier for the application of VSAT technology and the enabling function they can provide on critical research voyages,” said Jens Ewerling, Director Maritime Broadband, Cobham SATCOM.

“The 65cm antenna systems, with a 6W amplifier (BUC), currently available in the maritime market do not offer the bandwidth capabilities to support specialised vessels with the transfer of such quantities of data. With this in mind, we are proud to be the first to commercialise such an offering and are likely to see our antenna installed on a number of vessels in the next year.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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