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L3Harris Demonstrates Advanced SATCOM Prototype, Enhancing Satellite Data Access
This demonstration marks the second instance where L3Harris has showcased the capabilities of its DPAAS prototype, with the first demonstration conducted in 2021 as part of a Defense Innovation Unit prototype contract for the U.S. Space Force.
L3Harris Demonstrates Advanced SATCOM Prototype, Enhancing Satellite Data Access
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Feb 08, 2024

L3Harris Technologies has recently concluded a pivotal demonstration of its Digital Beamforming Phased Array Antenna System (DPAAS) prototype, marking a significant advancement in satellite communications (SATCOM) technology.

This prototype, stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska, has demonstrated a remarkable capability to handle an average of more than 300 satellite contacts per day, including the capacity for up to eight simultaneous contacts. This development is a stark departure from traditional SATCOM ground antenna technology, which is limited to one satellite contact at a time.

The prototype's successful demonstration underscores its potential to revolutionize how agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) gather critical environmental data amidst the rapid increase in satellite assets.

Traditional dish antenna technology, due to its inherent limitations, requires multiple, separate systems to manage extensive satellite communications. In contrast, the DPAAS prototype by L3Harris offers a scalable solution capable of managing hundreds of simultaneous satellite contacts without necessitating additional, costly systems.

This project is part of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement signed with NOAA in early 2023, aiming to enhance the agency's ability to collect environmental data through increased satellite communications efficiency. The DPAAS prototype's performance during the three-month demonstration period in Alaska's challenging weather conditions was notable, achieving automated, 24/7 system operation with near-zero downtime.

Over this period, the prototype managed more than 12,500 total locked satellite downlink contacts and successfully performed an uplink integrated with NOAA's operations center and one of its Joint Polar Satellite System satellites.

The implications of this technology are vast, offering better, faster access to environmental data critical for protecting the nation's environment, security, economy, and quality of life.

L3Harris Senior Scientist Brian Haman, who led the project, expressed enthusiasm over the demonstration results and the potential for continued partnerships with NOAA and other customers. The goal is to integrate L3Harris's multiband, multimission phased array capabilities into broader enterprise operations, enhancing satellite communication efficiency across civil and national security space sectors.

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