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O3b and Kymeta team up on flat antenna

O3b Networks, which recently launched the first four satellites in its planned Ka-band constellation, has signed an agreement with Kymeta to develop flat panel satellite antennas for use on its network.

The two companies say that they will jointly develop the satellite tracking antennas and terminals to be optimised for the satellite services that O3b will be offering. A prototype is expected by the end of 2014.

Headquartered on the British island of Jersey, O3b Networks placed four Ka-band satellites in medium earth orbit (MEO) in June and is planning on launching another four at the end of September. It expects to start commercial service in the fourth quarter of this year.

Its maritime service will be aimed at cruise ships and superyachts in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, as coverage will be within 45 degrees of latitude north and south of the equator.

US-based Kymeta holds the exclusive licence for Metamaterials Surface Antenna Technology (MSA-T) which can be used to develop flat panel antennas capable of forming beams for satellite communications.

“At O3b, we are striving to bring the benefits of affordable, low latency bandwidth to a growing number of people around the world and to deliver an ever expanding set of applications,” said Steve Collar, CEO of O3b Networks.

“Kymeta’s flat, light, low cost and low maintenance antennas promise to provide O3b customers an extremely powerful, high-performance solution at a very attractive price.”

“Kymeta antennas will have utility across all our market segments and we are excited to be partnering together to develop this highly innovative and game changing technology.”

Bob McCambridge, president and COO of Kymeta, also added: “O3b’s network with fibre-like speeds is a natural fit for Kymeta antennas that electronically acquire and track non-geostationary satellites.”

“The O3b network architecture is a perfect fit for Kymeta’s unique technology and capabilities.”

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Digital Ship magazine provides the latest information about maritime satellite communications technology, software systems, navigation technology, computer networks, data management and TMSA. It is published ten times a year.


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