Startups Kepler Communications and Phasor said Sept. 10 that they successfully demonstrated a link between Kepler’s cubesat and a Phasor flat panel antenna.
The test, according to the companies, “represents the first example of a wideband [low-Earth orbit] satellite to have been auto-acquired, auto-tracked, and communicated with, by a commercial flat panel, electronically-steerable antenna.”
Antennas that use electronics instead of mechanical systems to track satellites are considered important, if not critical, for low-Earth orbit broadband systems. Electronically steered antennas can link to two or more satellites simultaneously — a feat that single dish antennas cannot perform.
Kepler and Phasor said the test showed the antenna tracked Kepler’s first cubesat to 20 degrees above the horizon. Kepler co-founder and vice president of business development Jeffrey Osborne told SpaceNews by email that the tests show the company should be able to achieve a 10 Mbps downlink, 10 Mbps uplink connection with a 30-square-centimeter Phasor antenna. The test used a “representative antenna,” instead of a final product, he said.
Phasor anticipates releasing its first antennas late this year or in the first half of next year.