SES to tackle US military satellite market, following OneWeb

SES to tackle US military satellite market, following OneWeb and Hughes

04 June 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Luxembourg satellite company SES is the latest to cosy up to the US military in its efforts to build market share.

The government solutions division of SES is working with Isotropic Systems, which makes terminals, on systems for the US Air Force and the US Army.

Isotropic Systems plans to put its optical multi-beam antenna into production next year, in time to support SES’s new medium Earth orbit (MEO) O3b mPower satellites.

The move follows that of rival satellite operator OneWeb, which has bought a Texas supplier of satellite services to the US military. Hughes Network Systems, a shareholder in OneWeb, is also working to provide communications in the Arctic to the US Air Force.

SES and Isotropic Systems have conducted two trials of the technology so far. One was at the Harwell campus near Oxford in the UK, which showed that the optics could multiple satellites at the same time. SES also used its teleport in Florida to test that the Isotropic Systems kit meets military requirements.

Next Isotropic Systems will test its antenna prototype over links with SES satellites in geostationary orbit and MEO, to see whether the system can provide “seamless satellite-to-satellite transitions and a redundant, resilient leap in wartime communications”.

Isotropic Systems CCO Scott Sprague said: “These milestone trials with the US Army and Air Force are successfully demonstrating the multi-beam, multi-orbit connectivity and capabilities our high-performance terminals will put in the hands of frontline warfighters and decision makers across the government sector and battlespace.”