Sat-comms developments

OE Staff

October 3, 2014

Customized data communication solutions are required in the offshore industry, particularly for rigs and seismic vessels, where data collected is needed in real-time onshore for processing.

Airbus Defence and Space’s sales subsidiary, Marlink, last year installed a high throughput link on Petroleum Geo-Services’ (PGS) seismic survey vessel Atlantic Explorer. The link provides Ku-band very small aperature terminal (VSAT) services based on a 12 Mbit/s dedicated return link. It was an upgrade to Atlantic Explorer’s existing Sealink customized VSAT service also supplied by Marlink, and has subsequently been in successful use on the vessel.

“This project represents the very cutting-edge of what is known as customized VSAT; the kind of services used by the offshore industry because every platform and vessel has different requirements. This kind of high-level connectivity is not an off-the-shelf product,” says Airbus’ Tor Morten Olsen.

Following the recent creation of Airbus Defence and Space (a division of Airbus Group created by combining Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military), the company launched the AuroraGlobal high throughput services for government, maritime and enterprise markets earlier this year, as a response to increased bandwidth demand. The new portfolio of high throughput services – featuring Ku-, X-, and Ka-bands – gives increased throughput, without the need to change antenna systems.

Airbus says Aurora can provide enhanced X-band capabilities and performance for civil and government uses, increasing throughput up to four times more than current services using existing terminals, and enabling greater throughput via new smaller terminals, in line with growing operational needs. 

In the maritime market, the next generation Ku-band VSAT service can be used without the need to replace existing antennas. The new maritime VSAT offering features twice the previous data volume allowances and twice the previous data speeds, with unlimited L-band back-up service, as well as the new XChange platform, without having to invest in a new VSAT antenna.

Airbus Defence and Space will also deliver Global Xpress high-speed broadband services through its worldwide distribution channels in the near future. A strategic agreement signed last December with Inmarsat covers the maritime sector, as well as the government and defence sectors, initially in Europe.

The new VSAT offering includes the latest XChange, to enable a simple switch between VSAT and MSS. The latest XChange includes a “bring your own device” Wi-Fi solution, allowing vessel operators to provide crew with voice and Internet services direct to their own smartphones, laptops and tablets.

Airbus Defence and Space has also entered into an agreement with satellite service provider, Intelsat, bridging maritime VSAT services to Intelsat’s open-architecture, High Throughput Satellite (HTS) Epic platform. The agreement will provide global satcom services with secure access to Intelsat’s global Ku-band satellite capacity and terrestrially managed network IntelsatOneSM.

Epic has the potential to enable 25-60 Gbps throughput – around 10 times that of traditional satellites. Each Epic spot beam can support Airbus Defence and Space maritime users with 1m antennas featuring up to 290Mbps downlink speeds and uplink speeds up to 225Mbps. Customized data communication solutions are required in the offshore industry, particularly for rigs and seismic vessels, where data collected is needed in real-time onshore for processing.

Airbus Defence and Space’s sales subsidiary, Marlink, last year installed a high throughput link on Petroleum Geo-Services’ (PGS) seismic survey vessel Atlantic Explorer. The link provides Ku-band very small aperature terminal (VSAT) services based on a 12 Mbit/s dedicated return link. It was an upgrade to Atlantic Explorer’s existing Sealink customized VSAT service also supplied by Marlink, and has subsequently been in successful use on the vessel.

“This project represents the very cutting-edge of what is known as customized VSAT; the kind of services used by the offshore industry because every platform and vessel has different requirements. This kind of high-level connectivity is not an off-the-shelf product,” says Airbus’ Tor Morten Olsen.

Following the recent creation of Airbus Defence and Space (a division of Airbus Group created by combining Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military), the company launched the AuroraGlobal high throughput services for government, maritime and enterprise markets earlier this year, as a response to increased bandwidth demand. The new portfolio of high throughput services – featuring Ku-, X-, and Ka-bands – gives increased throughput, without the need to change antenna systems.

Airbus says Aurora can provide enhanced X-band capabilities and performance for civil and government uses, increasing throughput up to four times more than current services using existing terminals, and enabling greater throughput via new smaller terminals, in line with growing operational needs. 

In the maritime market, the next generation Ku-band VSAT service can be used without the need to replace existing antennas. The new maritime VSAT offering features twice the previous data volume allowances and twice the previous data speeds, with unlimited L-band back-up service, as well as the new XChange platform, without having to invest in a new VSAT antenna.

Airbus Defence and Space will also deliver Global Xpress high-speed broadband services through its worldwide distribution channels in the near future. A strategic agreement signed last December with Inmarsat covers the maritime sector, as well as the government and defence sectors, initially in Europe.

The new VSAT offering includes the latest XChange, to enable a simple switch between VSAT and MSS. The latest XChange includes a “bring your own device” Wi-Fi solution, allowing vessel operators to provide crew with voice and Internet services direct to their own smartphones, laptops and tablets.

Airbus Defence and Space has also entered into an agreement with satellite service provider, Intelsat, bridging maritime VSAT services to Intelsat’s open-architecture, High Throughput Satellite (HTS) Epic platform. The agreement will provide global satcom services with secure access to Intelsat’s global Ku-band satellite capacity and terrestrially managed network IntelsatOneSM.

Epic has the potential to enable 25-60 Gbps throughput – around 10 times that of traditional satellites. Each Epic spot beam can support Airbus Defence and Space maritime users with 1m antennas featuring up to 290Mbps downlink speeds and uplink speeds up to 225Mbps.