Satellite communications provider Satcom Direct, well known in the business aviation market, is expanding rapidly, investing in its capability and in a production ramp-up, and introducing service innovations as it prepares to open an office in Hong Kong to cover the Asian market.
Satcom Direct held its 9th annual conference in early February, bringing together not only its own customers but also a variety of hardware manufacturers and other companies that benefit from and provide services via satcom. The conference grows every year and is evidence that the steady pace of satellite communications development has led to a greater variety of airborne telecom services–and even some reductions in pricing–for aircraft operators.
As Inmarsat prepares to launch the first Global Xpress Ka-band satellite later this year, Honeywell engineers have successfully completed the preliminary design review of satcom hardware that will be installed in aircraft. The review covered the satcom terminals and antenna subsystems that Honeywell will manufacture for commercial and business aircraft. This included “external interface control documents and fuselage- and tail-mount antenna specifications,” according to the company.
From satellite communications equipment, to surveillance cameras, to life-support equipment, electronics systems and safety equipment, Cobham is displaying a wide-range of products at Heli-Expo ’13.
“We do really well with special-mission operators such as air medical, law enforcement or oil exploration,” Rob Creighton, marketing manager for Cobham Aerospace Communications, told AIN. “Anyone who has a determined task to perform.”
Satellite communications service provider Satcom Direct has unveiled the company’s first certified aviation hardware product, a router that integrates with any satcom and manages cabin communications, runs software apps and connects to 3G/4G cellular networks. The new Satcom Direct Router (SDR) weighs less than 10 pounds, meets DO-160G and DO-178B Level E (soon D) standards and will be available in May. “We wanted to make this [router] as robust and flexible as possible,” said Jim Jensen, Satcom Direct founder and owner.
Satcom Direct of Satellite Beach, Fla., will be touring the U.S. during June and July to promote new products and features, including updates on new mobile applications, maintenance training and troubleshooting.
Free training for Satcom Direct users includes hands-on work in the Satcom Direct mobile lab, a 40-foot Monaco Diplomat Coach, and features services from satellite providers Inmarsat, ViaSat Yonder and Iridium.
In a development particularly relevant to oceanic operations, an FAA-sponsored aviation rulemaking committee expects to issue guidance material providing for the use of satellite-based voice communications for long-range contact with ATC by year-end.
Satellite voice, fax, datalink and Internet communications solutions provider Satcom Direct opened a new domestic office at the Sheltair FBO at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. The company’s new Savannah office includes a business office and a satellite testing and integration lab. Customers who visit the location will have access to Satcom Direct’s avionics and testing lab, training facility and support services for pilots, flight operations and maintenance staff.
Danish satellite communication service specialist Satcom 1 has launched Flight Billing to simplify and expedite billing for onboard satcom usage. Flight Billing is currently available for SwiftBroadband services. Next year, Satcom 1 will add an individual billing solution, called Pay Per User, for operators who bill usage to individual users through separate accounts set up in advance or while in flight.
Iridium Communications of McLean, Va., last month placed a multibillion-dollar order with Thales Alenia Space of France for 81 communications satellites needed to upgrade its global satellite communications network. The $2.1 billion deal includes 66 low-earth-orbit satellites for the Iridium Next constellation, with the remainder to serve as spares.