Iridium has entered into preliminary discussions with satellite manufacturers about potential replacements for its network of low-earth-orbit communications satellites. The company is in the early stages of developing a satellite replacement strategy, according to a spokesman, who said the company plans to start serious design work around 2009.
As anyone who has flown aboard a private jet can attest, whiling away the time en route with a good book, sampling the catering or just engaging in some quiet conversation with cabin mates can make for an entirely enjoyable experience aloft.
Rockwell Collins announced that its eXchange broadband data and live television service will make its debut aboard a pair of Bombardier Global XRSes operated by Samsung Techwin, as well as in a Global 5000 demonstrator. A third undisclosed customer has also selected eXchange for its Global XRS, Rockwell Collins announced.
Satellite communications service provider Satcom Direct gave live demonstrations of Inmarsat’s broadband global area network (BGAN) land mobile technology at last month’s NBAA Convention. The precursor to the aviation-specific SwiftBroadband data service, BGAN provides a satellite link to users at speeds equivalent to a DSL connection.
Iridium said the number of aircraft fitted with its satellite communications equipment has grown by more than 100 percent in the last year. Iridium subscribers in the aviation market recently surpassed 5,000, the company announced, adding that the number of aircraft fitted with Iridium-based data systems has grown 200 percent in the last 12 months.
Coming just one month after it announced receipt of the supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation of its Broad Band Multi-Link (BBML) high-speed data system in the G500 and G550, Gulfstream Aerospace announced at EBACE it had received approval for installation of the high-speed data system in the G450 and G350, its fourth such STC. The first installation of the system on a customer G450 will be completed next month.
Rockwell Collins’s new SAT-6100 satellite communication system made its world debut aboard the Bombardier Global 5000 at the Paris Air Show last month.
Live tv over the ocean? It’s not possible today, and traditional direct broadcast satellite television providers are unlikely to have a business model for such services anytime soon. But Boeing and Rockwell Collins do.
The six-ton I-4 communications satellite Inmarsat launched in late March has taken over satcom transmission routing responsibility from the previous I-3 satellite covering the Indian Ocean Region, according to Inmarsat officials. While this news might not have much immediate impact on the average satcom user, there will be a notable change once Inmarsat switches on the I-4 satellite’s SwiftBroadband high-speed-data services late next year.
We live in a brave new world of constant connection, to our homes, offices, business acquaintances, friends and family. We’re connected by our cellphones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), laptops and Blackberries. And that’s the way we want it, in the air as well as on the ground.