Caleb Henry for SpaceNews:
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.
That’s a big step for a critically-important piece of technology. Phasor says it will be shipping its first antenna later this year or early next, so we’ll hear more on this front soon.