Lockheed’s LTE-over-Satellite comms system turns cellphones into sat phones

To maintain communications during emergencies or in remote areas, Lockheed Martin has created a new LTE system through satellites that will allow LTE mobile phones to connect with satellites to provide 4G connections. Designed to complement satellite phones, the new system produces an emerging mobile network that commercial phones can access to connect by voice, SMA and data transfers at broadband service speeds.

Mobile phones have become such an important part of our lives that we often forget how fragile mobile networks compare with old landlines. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes or earthquakes, can destroy vital parts of the cellular communications infrastructure and a large number of people trying to communicate with emergency services or make sure that loved ones are safe can overload capacity, even if there is no physical damage.

It is a situation that not only can hinder recovery efforts, but can also cause a massive economic disruption. Even if human lives are not at risk, modern society depends so much on wireless communications that disruption can seriously affect commerce to the point where something as simple as buying a cup of coffee can be affected.

Lockheed has not published too many details about its new LTE system for satellites, but it is very likely to take advantage of the higher speed and data capacity of LTE, as well as its digital signal processing techniques and the exclusive radio spectrum to connect with orbital satellites powerful. The company says that in an emergency, the new system can work with hot spots mounted on land vehicles or ships for wider coverage not only to help people, but also to help responders stay in touch.

In addition, the new system can provide freight carriers with the ability to exchange location and shipping information, as well as connect remote locations without coverage, including remote mining camps, research stations, fishing boats or agricultural operations.

“When a disaster strikes, cell phone networks often fall, either because of the event or because of the high volume of traffic,” says Maria Demaree, vice president and general manager of Mission Solutions at Lockheed Martin Space. “Therefore, it is important to have new ways to connect families and first responders with people who, otherwise, would not have contact.”