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Domeless satellite tested at sea

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Kymeta, a Redmond, Washington, company that makes antennas and terminals, partnered with marine communications provider e3 Systems to complete two lengthy sea trials of Kymeta KyWay domeless satellite terminals. The experience, and the weather, provided the engineering teams at Kymeta and e3 with valuable insights for maritime installations before the product becomes commercially available.

In one trial, four of the terminals were installed on the M/Y White Rose of Drachs, a 213-foot yacht built by Peterswerft-Kusch in 2004, and tested over the past several months with various MIR/CIR services from leading maritime satellite service providers, including Speedcast, which provided service in the Mediterranean.

This photo shows traditional satellite domes on the left and KyWay’s domeless system on the right. Photo provided

As a software-defined antenna technology, Kymeta and e3 engineers were able to improve functionality of KyWay terminals remotely, which is not possible with traditional mechanically steered antennas, according to the company.
“One day while testing the Kymeta solutions at sea, the e3 Systems and Kymeta teams removed terminals, changed components, and reinstalled them within minutes,” Capt. Andrew Schofield of the White Rose stated in a company press release. “With conventional antennas, we would have been in the yard for a few days with a crane to achieve the same results.”

In the other trial, S/Y Maltese Falcon, a 292-foot (89m) sailing vessel, was equipped with both single and multiple-terminal configurations. The four-month trial used capacity on three Intelsat assets, IS-29e (Caribbean), IS-32e Wide Beam (Bermuda/Atlantic), and IS-905 (Europe).

“We observed that the panel remained connected regardless of sea motion, pitch and roll, and exceeded our initial expectations of the performance of the electronically-steered beam,” Kymeta’s Vice President of Maritime, Håkan Olsson, stated.

Upon commercial release of yacht solutions, Kymeta terminals will be bundled with Kymeta’s KĀLO internet access services – powered by the IntelsatOne Flex for Maritime service. The terminals can also be outfitted with MIR/CIR services from service providers like Speedcast.

“We look forward to progressing from the current temporary trial installation to the finalized fully-integrated solution, which will rid the yacht of the current VSAT and TVRO domes,” Capt. Schofield stated. “This will remove over 5 tons of weight from her super structure and provide the yacht with permanent access to the internet.”

Up-close views of the trial installation of Kymeta KyWay terminals on the White Rose will be available Sept. 27-30 at the Monaco Yacht Show. The Maltese Falcon, with its trial installation of the terminals, also will be on display at the show.

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