Boeing Satellite Systems is predicting that viable space-based alternatives to land-based communications systems will be possible as a result of advances in satellite digital signal processors (DSPs).


The company's breakthrough was made with the DSPs developed for the Thuraya communications satellite, which have now been flight proven following the satellite's launch last October. The new DSPs provide the satellite with more computing power than 3,000 Pentium III computers, enabling the craft to handle tens of thousands of phone calls simultaneously.

Boeing says it is tapping IBM's advanced customised integrated circuit technologies for further satellite applications.

Meanwhile, the manufacturer has invested $7.6 million in an office at El Segundo, California, which will house a "side-by-side collection of satellite contractors and their US Government customers" to support several military communications satellite programmes, including the Ultra High Frequency Follow On series, the Milstar Advanced Extremely High Frequency payload and the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite.

Source: Flight International