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New Spot-Beam Antennas Boost Communication Satellites’ Bandwidth

SSL’s satellites constructed for Telesat also feature 3D-printed components

4 min read
Photo: SSL
Hi-Def Broadcast: Telstar 19V’s spot beams will improve data rates across the Americas.
Photo: SSL

Over the past few months, the spacecraft manufacturing company SSL put the finishing touches on three massive communications satellites. It built two of them for Canadian operator Telesat. Then it initiated its plan to have them launched, one after the other, into distinct geosynchronous orbits 36,000 kilometers above Earth—perches that will keep each satellite hovering over a particular spot, even as the planet turns.

From their respective vantage points, the pair built for Telesat will deliver high-speed communications services, including broadband Internet, to Asia and the Americas for the next 15 years.

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Top Tech 2022: A Special Report

Preview two dozen exciting technical developments that are in the pipeline for the coming year

1 min read
Photo of the lower part of a rocket in an engineering bay.

NASA’s Space Launch System will carry Orion to the moon.

Frank Michaux/NASA

At the start of each year, IEEE Spectrum attempts to predict the future. It can be tricky, but we do our best, filling the January issue with a couple of dozen reports, short and long, about developments the editors expect to make news in the coming year.

This isn’t hard to do when the project has been in the works for a long time and is progressing on schedule—the coming first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System, for example. For other stories, we must go farther out on a limb. A case in point: the description of a hardware wallet for Bitcoin that the company formerly known as Square (which recently changed its name to Block) is developing but won’t officially comment on. One thing we can predict with confidence, though, is that Spectrum readers, familiar with the vicissitudes of technical development work, will understand if some of these projects don’t, in fact, pan out. That’s still okay.

Engineering, like life, is as much about the journey as the destination.

See all stories from our Top Tech 2022 Special Report

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