Wideband Global Satellite Opens a "Highway" to Space Comms
April 9, 2008
FORT MONMOUTH, N. J. - Wideband Global Satellite 1 (IRON 1462) demonstrated unheard of data transfer rates during a capacity test at L3-Com West in Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 25.
Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center's technical lead selected L3-Com West in conjunction with a satellite terminal from the existing SATCOM fleet to couple with an advanced L3 experimental satellite modem to reach data rates of 440 megabits per second over satellite. Data enriched transmissions meeting or exceeding this data rate could not be verified traversing a satellite ever before in history.
While these high data rates are impressive in the radio frequency domain, in the end it wasn't the satellite that was the limiting factor, said Rick Dunnegan, CERDEC Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate Joint SATCOM Engineering Center (JSEC) technical lead. The JSEC concluded in a briefing following the test, "the WGS-1 satellite demonstrated the ability to support well beyond both the common and uncommon data capabilities currently available in the SATCOM ground segments anywhere in the world at the present time."
"WGS-1 supported data rates beyond the advanced L3 developmental satellite modem's ability to count errors in near real time. We wanted to see how far we could go with it, and at that particular moment, that was the best we could do on the ground," Dunnegan said.
The next steps in the process will be to advance a ground test element far enough to exceed WGS capability to better characterize breaking points in the data throughput arena, Dunnegan added. "The power, capacity and flexibility of this new WGS satellite reflect advanced satellite capability the Government has never had before."
CERDEC's JSEC is the executive agent for test and evaluation for the WGS, which was launched in October. This particular spacecraft is the first of the fleet with several more to follow. The results of this test will undoubtedly offer more options spurring more technological possibilities for the Department Of Defense.