OneWeb Reveals Details of LEO In-flight Connectivity Trial

By Mark Holmes | June 17, 2022
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A screenshot from a clip of the test flight of OneWeb's LEO-powered in-flight connectivity system

OneWeb and Stellar Blu Solutions have delivered high-speed, low-latency in-flight LEO satellite connectivity to a commercial airliner, the two companies announced June 14. This first test flight was conducted aboard a Boeing B777-200LR and took off from Fort Worth Alliance Airport (KAFW) in Texas on May 27th at 15:20 UTC and flew for just over one hour delivering this connectivity experience.

Stellar Blu has partnered with antenna technology provider Ball Aerospace to incorporate its electronically steered arrays (ESA) into the terminal solution. The new Stellar Blu platform, known as "Sidewinder," will continue flight testing through the remainder of 2022, with a target for certification and availability in mid-2023. This maiden flight represented the culmination of several months of collaboration between Stellar Blu, OneWeb, and Ball Aerospace including ground trials and flight tests.

The test flight crew simultaneously demonstrated the ability to connect Teams calls, 4K YouTube streaming, Netflix, online VR gaming, and Nintendo Switch gaming, among other structured performance tests. Maximum speeds of 260Mbps download/80 upload and file transfer scenarios of 5GB were demonstrated in approximately 20 seconds, all while operating at well under 100ms of network latency.

“This test flight represents a fantastic milestone for OneWeb. Broadband in-flight connectivity, delivered to a commercial aircraft via LEO satellites and an ESA is now – finally – a reality. Together with our partners Stellar Blu and technology from Ball Aerospace, we are now well and truly on our way to delivering consistently reliable, game-changing, affordable inflight connectivity to commercial aviation users everywhere,” Ben Griffin, vice president of mobility for OneWeb, said in a statement.


This article was first published by Via Satellite, a sister publication to Avionics International.>>

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