Cobham Unveil Sailor 4300 Iridium Next Terminal
Cobham Satcom presented their new Sailor 4300 Iridium Next terminal at last week's Nor-shipping show. The terminal will be among the first to allow access to the replacement Iridium Next constellation of low earth orbit satellites.
Since its commercially rocky start in the late 1990s, that saw the original company going bankrupt then sold for a tiny nominal sum, Iridium has gained a reputation for reliability and unrivaled global coverage. However, like all communications satellites, Iridium spacecraft use fuel to keep them where they should be. This gives them a finite life. Also, failures such as the memorable satellite collision in 2009, mean that there are now occasional gaps in the original 66 satellite coverage.
The new satellites are backwards compatible with the existing network, so that Iridium Next will still support short, text-based services. This makes it ideal for keeping tabs on diverse, mobile objects such as shipping containers, mining machinery and marine mammals to name but a few. And all using low-cost, low-power devices, some smaller than a credit card.
But decent broadband data services will also be available on Iridium Next. New terminals such as the Sailor 4300 will provide a very useable, low-latency internet and corporate data connection. Speeds are predicted to be more than 10 times those currently available on an Iridium Pilot, at up to 1.5 Mbps. This will make Next ideal for filling in the gaps in all C, Ku, and Ka band VSAT footprint charts.
The new terminal is expected to ship towards the end of 2017 to coincide with commercial availability of the new satellite services. Ships such as the polar supply vessel Aurora Australis, operating in high latitudes where VSAT doesn't really reach and the sun doesn't always shine will need one of these. And like all Sailor products from our friends in Denmark, you can bet that the Sailor 4300 will be engineered with quality and reliability in mind, ready to operate in some of the world's harshest marine environments.