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SSC adds four new polar antennas to strengthen its polar connectivity

(26 April 2021 - SSC) Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) strengthens its leading polar capability with four new antennas at its polar ground stations; two in Canada and two in Sweden.

First out is a new 7,3m tri-band antenna at the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility (ISSF) in Canada. Together these four antennas will extend the SSC’s capacity and capability by adding further connectivity for polar orbiting satellites. The announcement marks yet another step in SSC’s major extension towards a fully global Ka-band connectivity by the end of 2021.

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LVA 7.3 m SSC-owned triband antenna Inuvik, Canada during the installation in August, 2020. (courtesy: Bob Malkemes)

“This investment is an important part of our global ground station network expansion, aiming at meeting the urgent and growing demand for high downlink capacity for high resolution earth observation data. We see a bright future at the ISSF and already have several customers waiting to begin their operations from the new establishment. The market demand is our main driver and we are gearing up accordingly”, says Patrik Melvås, Head of Business Development at SaMS, SSC.

The new 7,3 meter antenna, owned and operated by SSC, features tri-band capability accommodating S-, X- and Ka-band frequencies. Together with the two existing SSC antennas at the ISSF site, the new establishment will add to the company’s unmatched polar connectivity for satellite operations. As part of the overall polar sites extension, three additional antennas will also be introduced later this year; one at the Inuvik Satellite Station in Canada and two at Esrange Space Center in Sweden.

“We are pleased to support SSC’s expansion at ISSF. SSC’s upgraded capabilities will meet a growing market demand for increased connectivity to polar orbiting satellites, confirming that Inuvik truly is a global destination for polar spacecraft operations”, says Éric Loubier, Director General, Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation.

The polar expansion is central in meeting the growing demand from satellite owners who choose to operate their polar orbiting satellites through the dual use of northernly located ground stations. The new establishment is also an important part of SSC’s comprehensive frequency upgrade. By the end of 2021 the company will have installed Ka-band capability across its global network, making SSC the first company to offer a truly global commercial and multi-mission Ka-band capacity network; presently across strategic locations in Chile, Thailand, Canada and Sweden.

“Polar connectivity is particularly challenging due to the busy satellite traffic, which is why many of our customers choose to support their satellites through the dual use of our ground stations in Sweden and Canada; what we call the ‘Kinuvik’ concept. This complementary coverage ensures increased resilience and longer satellite passes. The appetite for Kinuvik is very high and we will continue to invest to meet this growing market demand. Furthermore, the addition of Ka-band frequency to our global network will allow our customers to operate much higher data volumes”, says Dan White, EVP Americas Region at SSC.