Astronics and Collins Aerospace completed a successful test flight of their new LuxStream business jet connectivity solution. (Astronics)
A recent test flight completed by Astronics Corp. its Ku-band tail-mounted antenna technology for the Collins Aerospace KuSAT-2000 SATCOM terminal’s ability to demonstrate previously proposed download speeds for the new LuxStream business jet connectivity service.
During the test flight, Astronics recorded download speeds of up to 25 Mbps in the United States and 15 Mbps globally, using Collins’ SATCOM system to access Ku-band satellites operated by SES. Astronics’ team transferred 12 gigabytes of data during the flight, testing up to seven devices that were simultaneously streaming HD video as well as voice, video calls and other communications platforms.
“Astronics is proud to be partnered with Collins Aerospace,” said Paul Mitchell, general manager of Astronics AeroSat. “We are pleased to continue growing our relationship as installations of LuxStream increase.”
LuxStream was announced by Collins in September 2019, with Vista Global as its launch customer, which is upgrading its fleet of 116 business jets with new antennas, control units, converters, modems and wireless access points, among other electronics. Collins will play a major role in the deployment and operation of LuxStream. Their ARINCDirect business aviation solutions division will manage the services-oriented aspect of LuxStream, selling airtime to operators and managing subscriptions and activation of connectivity-enabled applications for passengers and flight crews.
The onboard equipment that will enable LuxStream weighs a combined 51 pounds, and includes the following:
- Astronics T-series tail-radome-mounted antenna
- Collins block down converter
- Collins antenna control and modem
- Collins cabin router
- Collins KuSAT-2000 satellite communications terminal
“Collins Aerospace is excited to work with Astronics to bring LuxStream’s unmatched connectivity speeds to business jets around the world,” said Bruce Quade, senior program manager of connectivity services for Collins Aerospace.
LuxStream also represents a further expansion into enabling in-flight connectivity on business jets for SES, which on its first quarter 2020 earnings call in May noted strong growth in its aeronautical segment, most notably from “the steady increase in the through rate of SES-14 and 15, the expansion of SES's KA-based aero network and from managed
connectivity services delivered to the aviation business market,” the company said in its first quarter earnings release.
While LuxStream is already approved and being installed on the Vista Global fleet of Bombardier Globals and Challengers as well as Cessna Citation X and Challenger 300s, Collins is also working on supplemental type certification programs for the Gulfstream GV and G550. Kaiser Air has been providing LuxStream connectivity to its passengers on its GIV fleet since April.
Correction: This article previously incorrectly stated Collins Aerospace was working on an STC for the Gulfstream GIV, and was still anticipating the first passenger carrying flights featuring LuxStream. An STC has already been completed on the GIV and is owned by StandardAero.