On 12 October 2017, ESA and ViaSat Antenna Systems S.A. based in Switzerland agreed to work together to develop the core elements for the ground segment of the next generation, terabit capacity ViaSat-3 (VS-3) satellite broadband network. This ultra-high capacity satellite is forecast to dramatically increase the availability of broadband via satellite to consumers worldwide. Project AIDAN has been created to develop cutting-edge technology to meet the demands of the residential broadband and commercial aviation sectors of the market.
ESA will support key developments being performed in Europe for the ViaSat-3 Ground Segment within three specific areas: innovative aeronautical antennas; residential customer premises equipment; and gateway management and control.
Developed through ESA's Partner programme, project AIDAN is led by ViaSat Antenna Systems S.A. in Switzerland, coordinating a consortium with partners in the Netherlands: ViaSat Netherlands BV (on the development for network management software within gateway operations control); NLR (environmental and integration testing); and Lionix International BV (designing an innovative time delay photonic switch for the antenna). The project is planned to provide several benefits to the European Industries involved:
ARTES Partnership is a co-funded programme with ESA funding up to 50% of the eligible costs. The initial part of the activity, supported by Switzerland and Netherlands, will involve three areas of development. Firstly, a flat panel airborne terminal that is intended to expand satellite inflight connectivity across a greater range of aircraft and with a wider geographical coverage. Secondly, an upgrade of the fixed beam residential terminal for compliance with VS-3 satellites. Thirdly, the activity will help to support the development of innovative network management modules that are intended to be deployed in the VS-3 ground stations.
Magali Vaissiere, ESA Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications commented, “We are happy to initiate a new ARTES Partner programme with an operator; this time it is with ViaSat and to support innovation in the ground segment.”
Stefano Vaccaro, General Manager of ViaSat Antenna Systems observed, “The AIDAN Project demonstrates our commitment to high capacity satellite services and international growth, while recognising the excellent technical ability and expertise available in Europe. Through the joint programme with ESA, we are able to build on our core capabilities to grow ViaSat presence in Europe and deliver innovative products for the VS-3 satellite system.”