Connecting Aircraft – Concept To Reality In 90 Days

The prevalence of broadband and satellite-based connectivity options that allow airlines and operators to stream and capture data on and off modern aircraft continues to grow. As a result, the need to explore, design and integrate new satellite communication (SatCom) possibilities became an important priority for one Ideal Aerosmith customer.

How we solved it.

the challenge

In order to keep in sync with market demand, an Ideal Aerosmith customer needed a cost-effective solution that would standardize Geo-Sync, Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) antenna testing. Consequently, they needed to shorten the antenna qualification process, speed up antenna production and ultimately simplify antenna field deployment.

the solution

This project involved concurrent engineering and rapid prototyping to take a “look and feel” concept to first build in 90 days.

With a pre-defined and limited budget (along with a fairly aggressive timeline), Ideal Aerosmith put in motion a design-to-cost, new product development team that worked closely with the customer from the very beginning. “We leveraged our expertise in precision motion simulation to quickly conceive of a modular, stable and mobile three-axis SatCom positioning system,” says Moses Koyabe, vice president of business development at Ideal Aerosmith. “Clear communication through several iterations resulted in a draft design that moved through preliminary and critical review milestones very rapidly. Features and improvements were integrated along the way, as well.”

This multi-axis system could position or steer various antenna units to precisely and rapidly acquire, lock and track any given satellite constellation. It was also designed to allow for both indoor and outdoor use for live satellite signal checks.

the outcome

The three-axis SatCom positioning system from Ideal Aerosmith met and achieved the customer’s requirement by simplifying, automating and improving pointing accuracy and stability while minimizing the time to acquire each satellite signal. The architecture allowed for future growth to adopt newer antenna technologies and sizes, helping to future-proof the customer’s business. Precise digital control further allowed the customer to generate theoretical waveforms like Scorsby motion or replay captured waveforms from actual test/operational data to troubleshoot issues or enhance functionality.

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