Military Embedded Systems

Multi-orbit, software-defined SATCOM capability demoed by Hughes and SES


September 24, 2021

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Stock image.

GERMANTOWN, Md. Hughes Network Systems and SES announced the first demonstration of a new multi-orbit satellite communications (SATCOM) capability for remotely piloted aircraft (RPA).

Conducted for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), officials claim the demonstration paired Hughes HM series software-defined modems and Resource Management System (RMS) with SES’s satellites that operate in geosynchronous (GEO) and medium earth (MEO) orbits.

SES’s multi-orbit fleet, which is designed to deliver global coverage, high throughput, and security, was leveraged to show how unmanned aerial vehicles, such as the GA-ASI MQ-9 series, can maintain connectivity and resiliency in contested environments.

The demonstration replicated a typical unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission, transmitting video and sensor data to and from the unmanned vehicle to the command center. Based on the mission’s pre-set policies, the RMS automatically switched the satellite signals to stay connected.


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