The increasing pace of the commercial satellite industry continues and, as a response, KSAT is adding 34 new antennas this year that will be dedicated for the KSATlite network, the company’s network optimized to support smallsat constellations.
The antennas will be installed across the globe, adding capacity in already existing sites as well as expanding the coverage to new sites. The roll-out of the first batch of antennas is already well on its way, the second one starting in June.
This significant investment comes as a direct response to the growing demand for services on the KSATlite network. Last year, the number of passes in a six month period time doubled on the lite network from 10 to 20k passes per month. By June, the network will be probably be handling 30k passes per month, having exceeded 1k passes daily.
The strong growth is caused by several factors. Existing and new customers are expanding their constellations, adding more satellites to their missions and requiring an increased number of contacts on the network. An important factor revolves around operational flexibility. Allowing the ground to define a standard interface gives the satellite owners flexibility and a network-oriented approach for data reception and satellite control.
Although adding 34 antennas requires a significant effort from the whole organization, deployment of the antennas across the network is “relatively” easy. The KSATlite strategy and product concept is all about standardized set-ups and scalable ground station architecture that, together with flexible API driven interfaces, are making this possible.
The 34 antennas will augment KSATs already fully operational Ka-band network that consists of 6 polar antenna systems (4 Tri-band and 2 Dual-band) and comes in addition to an already ongoing expansions as well as additional investments on the KSAT ground network this year.
“Our network loading forecasts shows no signs of this growth curve flattening. On the contrary, looking at the number of new satellites in the pipeline and the launch frequency this is a continuing trend,” said Amund Nylund, KSAT Chief Operations Officer. “We believe this reflects the current pace of the commercial space industry, as well as it speaks to the success of the KSATlite product in this fast-growing market.”
“Looking back 10 years, building and integrating four antennas at our new mid latitude sites in one year was a major achievement. Now we are deploying and integrating 34 antennas almost like it’s just another day at the office. It shows that the way we are operating now is streamlined and developing a software based architecture, makes the work a lot easier. However, it would not be possible without the effort from our dedicated KSAT Team,” KSAT CEO and President Rolf Skatteboe.