Astronics is exhibiting its new electronically-steerable array antennas (ESAs), developed in conjunction with Phasor, for the first time.
The three low-profile antennas, called the E-200, E-600 and E-1000, each stand about 3.5 inches above the fuselage, so offer very low drag.
The main benefit of an ESA is that it has no moving parts. The beam is formed and is steered by altering the phasing between the different elements.
You could even generate two beams to point at two different satellites at the same time.
Matthew Harrah, President, Astronics Aerosat, said of the key features is their ability to simultaneous transmit and receive. They can also “make before you break” a connection between satellites.
“With low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites you have about 2.5 minutes of visible time, before you need to move to the next one. So make before break is very important,” Harrah said.
“They are smaller, lighter, thinner and ideal for GEO, LEO and MEO satellites.”
The antenna’s modular design means that the number of modules can be changed quite easily.
“You can also selectively shut-down panels to reduce heat in hot countries, such as in the Middle East,” Harrah said.
The models are:
E-1000 – will serve existing GEO constellations and is ready for LEO and MEO satellites for twin- and single-aisle commercial aircraft. This model measures 78” x 61” x 3.5”.
E-600 – a mid-size solution measuring 78” x 47” x 3.5”, intended to serve the same networks but targeted for single-aisle and business aviation aircraft.
E-200 – a small-size version, which is a future-concept antenna for LEO-only satellite networks that is ideal for turboprops up through twin-aisle commercial aircraft based on connectivity needs.
Custom Configurations – due to the modular nature of Phasor’s proprietary technology that allows for additional installation options, custom systems can be configured based on the application and customer requirements, to include conformal “flush” mounting integrated into the fuselage.
Astronics said full production is scheduled to start by the end of 2021 and they will be flying in 2020.