The next major step in satellite communication services will be the deployment of Inmarsat’s new Ka-band GX (Global Xpress) satellite constellation. Satellite service provider Satcom Direct (Booth P212) has ordered 10 shipsets of the new satcom system for its business aviation clients. The three Inmarsat-5 satellites are scheduled to be in orbit by the end of this year, and GX Aviation services should start in the first half of 2015.
The key advantage of the GX satellites is high-speed service of up to 50 Mbps download speeds to the aircraft, which will finally allow reliable streaming of video content to airborne users. Service rates are expected to be much lower than other satcom systems as well. Honeywell (Booth P310) is the exclusive provider of GX Aviation hardware; Satcom Direct is a GX Aviation hardware and distribution partner.
Satellite Beach, Florida-based Satcom Direct also manufactures its own airborne smart router, which can manage an aircraft’s voice and data services and allows simultaneous use of Inmarsat Swift 64, SwiftBroadband, Ku- and Ka-band satcom systems. The company’s SDR (Satcom Direct Router) was recently approved for installation on the Gulfstream GII, GIII, GIV and GIVSP, in an approved model list supplemental type certification program done in conjunction with Banyan Air Service. The SDR was previously approved on Bombardier Learjet 60, Global XRS and Global 5000 models and on the Hawker series.
SDR features include high-bandwidth data delivery to the cabin using advanced compression and acceleration technology. A single IP address for the aircraft can be provided, using Satcom Direct’s Global One IP. And the SDR includes a dual-SIM module that provides 3G connectivity on the ground. Mobile applications can run on the SDR to deliver services to the cabin, such as moving map, command and control of satellite links and real-time connection status reporting, according to the company.
Satcom Direct has opened new offices around the globe this year to deliver training, support and satcom consultation services for pilots, operations staff and maintenance technicians. The new facilities include a location in Hong Kong, which opened in January, and offices in Geneva and Moscow, which opened in March. In Dubai, Satcom Direct relocated its offices to the new Dubai World Central airport. Satcom Direct now has offices in four U.S. and seven international locations.