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  • Filing to YouTube from an Aircraft
    Posted by Christina Mackenzie 7:47 PM on Jun 21, 2011

    Today it is impossible to send videos or photos from an airborne platform via satellite. It is done by radio which limits the size of the file that can be sent. And so in a DGA (French procurement agency)-financed project, Thales Alenia Space and Thales Defence & Security C4I Systems Division have joined up to develop an airborne satcom for mission aircraft such as the A400M, the Atlantique 2 and AWACS.

    The Antares-A active antenna shown for the first time at the Paris air show works in the Ka band (24–40 Ghz) typically used for mapping, while a similar system operating on French army vehicles in Afghanistan uses the X-band (8–12 GHz).

    The development difficulty was to ensure the antenna will always point towards the Athena-Fidus Ka-bandwidth satellite (being built by Thales Alenia Space) which will be launched in 2013, whatever the movement of the aircraft (except if the aircraft is looping!), Eric Boudjema, Satcom terminals Director Air & Naval Communications told me. The antenna's movement is generated by a mixed mechanical and electronic solution “because if it were all mechanical it would be too voluminous and if it were all electronic it would be too expensive, so this seemed a good compromise,” Boudjema says.

    The antenna is flat so can be put on the aircraft body. It measures 80 x 30 cm and will be able to handle 10 MB per second. It will be ready for flight trials in 2013. So perhaps we can expect videos of singing pilots on YouTube?

    Tags: ar99, pas11

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