China’s first aircraft fitted with a homegrown high-speed satellite internet system has successfully completed its maiden flight.
The Ka band system was tested on Qingdao Airlines flight QW9771 between Qingdao Liuting International Airport and lChengdu Shuangliu International Airport.
Onboard the Airbus A320 passengers could access internet services at speeds higher than 100 megabytes at a height over 10,000 meters, enjoying the same surfing experience as they do on the ground.
During the flight, a live broadcast was conducted, the first of its kind in China’s civil aviation history. The passengers onboard shared aerial images in real time with people on the ground via a video link.
More than 3,500 commercial aircraft operating in China and this aircraft is the first one retrofitted with a Ka band IFEC system.
The satellite system is based on XstreamSAT, which was built using China’s first and only high throughput satellite (HTS) in Ka band frequency, Zhongxing 16, it said. Aircraft internet is traditionally powered by Ku band satellites, which mean much slower connection speeds.
Isreali company Gilat Satellite Networks is powering the In-flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) service with its Taurus aero modem.
The service is provided by China Satcom, over CS-16 Ka-HTS satellite together with its partner China TDT LINK (contents/service provider to passengers). The whole Ka-band IFEC system was integrated by FTS, a Chinese system integrator.
N.B. Image credit: Gilat