UK startup to launch phased array satellite system
June 13, 2012 // Nick Flaherty
A UK startup is set to launch a novel phased array antenna system that allows moving vehicles to communicate with stationary satellites, or antennas that track moving satellites, in real time with no moving parts.
Phasor Solutions, based in Herefordshire in the UK, is using the 155GHz SiGe process from TowerJazz rather than GaAs for the transceivers alongside its phase array antenna design. Witha launch at the Farnborough Air Show next month It is targeting the multi-billion dollar satellite communications and radar market that it says provides order of magnitude improvement over competing solutions.
The Phasor chips include all the radio frequency functions (amplifiers, oscillators) and phase shifting circuits, as well as the logic and data modulation/demodulation required. This approach to phased array technology aims to reduce costs by over 10x and provide a flat design less than 1 inch high, conformal to any surface, modular approach, and high reliability as there are no moving parts. One of Phasor's initial targets is wireless internet access on trains, an estimated available market of over 500 million users worldwide. However airborne satcoms and other Comms-On-The-Move (COTM) applications are likely to be larger markets.
"Phasor is carving the way for the next decades of phased arrays by providing a paradigm shift in satellite communications. It took the industry over 40 years to develop phased arrays which are typically expensive to buy and to operate. But now, with the invaluable support of our partners, and in particular TowerJazz, we have been able to deliver semiconductors which provide an order of magnitude reduction in costs compared to current solutions," said David Garrood, Managing Director, Phasor Solutions. "Phasor has been able to achieve this milestone with the support of the TowerJazz team and relying on the stability and performance of its SBC18HX process."
Phasor Solutions was founded by venture capital firm Anglo Scientific and circuit designer Richard Mayo in 2005 to develop flat and conformal high gain antennas to fit on the roof of moving vehicles.
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