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Intelsat EpicNG Completes Major Milestone on the Road to 2016 Launch
by Staff Writers
Luxembourg (SPX) Mar 22, 2015

File image.

Intelsat has announced the completion of a series of tests demonstrating the compatibility of the Intelsat EpicNG digital payload with existing ground equipment platforms. The digital payload is one of many unique design features on the company's Intelsat EpicNG satellites, the first of which, Intelsat 29e, is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2016.

As part of the tests, Intelsat General Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Intelsat S.A., successfully validated protected tactical waveform (PTW) modem performance on the Intelsat EpicNG digital payload, demonstrating our commitment to providing commercial capacity optimized for secure tactical communications.

The PTW test was done to further the joint services effort, led by the United States Air Force, to develop a new PTW modem standard and hardware that will provide cost effective, protected communications over government and commercial satellites in multiple frequency bands.

Intelsat EpicNG's digital payload represents the latest generation of high performance technology initially developed by Boeing Co. (BA) for use on the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Wideband Global SATCOM ("WGS") satellites.

This technology is also provided exclusively for commercial use on the Intelsat EpicNG satellite platform. The all-digital design is a first for fixed satellite service, commercial high throughput satellites ("HTS"), setting Intelsat EpicNG apart from other HTS satellites in-orbit or launching in the near future.

Intelsat EpicNG's all-digital payload allows connectivities in any bandwidth increment from any beam to any beam. This attribute enables independent frequency selection of the uplink and downlink. Combined, these features provide unprecedented adaptability for a customer's network configuration and topology, allowing customers to leverage installed hardware and to operate mixed spectrum networks.

As technology continues to change rapidly, this level of improved performance, efficiency and flexibility of the Intelsat EpicNG platform will better enable customers to rapidly adapt and meet changing market demands.

Stephen Spengler, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat, commented, "When we conceptualized the Intelsat EpicNG platform design, we wanted to build in technology that would increase performance while also solving operational issues within our customers' networks.

"This feature of completely flexible beam connectivity is an important early differentiator of the Intelsat EpicNG fleet. The digital payload will be instrumental in allowing flexible and efficient use of spectrum, resulting in a dramatic increase in the amount of throughput we can deliver on the satellites.

"In addition to efficiency, the technology also increases our ability to mitigate interference and purposeful jamming, which is a very important feature for customers, including those with media and government applications."

Advanced hardware prototypes have been developed over the past 2 years and tested on the DoD's WGS satellites. The successful demonstration of the compatibility and effectiveness of PTW modems on commercial satellites paves the way for the U.S. Government to consider and procure commercial satellite capacity for PTW-based networks.

The tests were conducted in cooperation with Boeing Co. who is manufacturing the new Intelsat EpicNG satellites and has participated in PTW development efforts. Testing included transmitting a PTW signal through the Intelsat EpicNG digital payload and measuring performance quality of high-data throughput.

"The creation of a COMSATCOM resilient tactical service is critical for the future operations of our military and government customers," said Kay Sears, President of Intelsat General Corp.

"The Boeing PTW modem test was the first of its kind to measure signal integrity with our new Intelsat EpicNG satellites, so we're quite pleased with the results."

Prior to the successful Intelsat EpicNG digital payload tests, Intelsat conducted tests on existing Intelsat satellites, using the same protected tactical waveform, also with a successful outcome.

These latest tests prove that the modems will also work on the upcoming high-throughput Intelsat EpicNG satellites. Intelsat General plans to conduct further tests prior to launch to validate other performance characteristics of the PTW modem with the Intelsat EpicNG digital payload.

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