May 14th, 2011
MDA + Thales Alenia Space... NEXT UpAntennas (Satellite)
The new MDA contract with Thales Alenia Space is worth approximately $40 million (CAD). Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor designing and building the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. The contract is for the MDA Communications group to provide a total of 486 high-performance Ka-band cross link and feeder link antennas for the Iridium NEXT satellites. The compact, yet high-performing, antennas developed for Iridium NEXT draw extensively from the technology and know-how developed by MDA on various other programs such as KA-SAT, Viasat-1, Jupiter-1, Hylas-2 and O3b. This clearly demonstrates how our superior technology can be leveraged to produce more competitive solutions.
The MDA antennas will enable Iridium NEXT satellites to communicate with their network gateways, and telemetry, tracking and command/control (TTAC) locations, as well as enable communication between satellites. Each Iridium NEXT satellite will be cross-linked to four other satellites, two in the same orbital plane and one in each adjacent plane. These links will create a dynamic network in space. Traffic will be routed among Iridium satellites without touching the ground, ensuring a reliable connection and nearly eliminating latency. Using MDA’s latest Ka-band antenna technology, Iridium NEXT will enhance and eventually replace the world’s farthest reaching communications network, Iridium. This contract award cements MDA’s position as a leader in this market segment. The first Iridium NEXT satellites are scheduled to be launched in 2015.