Kepler, Phasor Test Flat Panel Antenna with LEO Cubesat

Phasor tested one of its early antennas with KIPP, a 3U cubesat prototype for Kepler Communications' future constellation of 140 satellites. (credit: Phasor/Kepler)

Phasor tested one of its early antennas with KIPP, a 3U cubesat prototype for Kepler Communications' future constellation of 140 satellites. (credit: Phasor/Kepler)

October 8, 2018 | Source: Space News, spacenews.com, 10 September 2018, Caleb Henry

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.

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