Helical Communications Technology launches first antenna for Hiber satellite

Helical Communications Technology (HCT), a Rockledge-based research, design and manufacturer of deployable space-based and ground station antennas, has launched its custom-built Quadrifilar Helical Antenna as part of Hiber’s constellation satellites in December 2018. A second launch with the same technology launched from Vandenberg Air Force Station the same month. This milestone elevates HCT to the status of “Flight Heritage Status” which indicates a company’s first successful satellite launch deployed into space. Very few private companies have reached this milestone, according to Helical.

“This flight heritage milestone opens our doors for more companies wishing to launch satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for future launches,” commented Salvatore Bologna, President of HCT.

“The opportunity to offer daily internet access via modems located in remote regions of the world transmitted to earth-bound existing satellite stations is remarkable. HCT is proud to have been part of this much needed solution.”

Founded in 2013 by Salvatore Bologna and Gregory O’Neill, HCT began researching and designing a unique omni-directional antenna for cubesats that capture a much larger footprint of geography and topography on the earth. Within four years HCT had developed a design that can be scaled depending on the customer’s requirements to have a wide range of circularly polarized antenna patterns.

Hiber, based in Amsterdam, contracted with HCT to send their nano-satellites or cubesats on this mission with the objective to offer internet connectivity to millions worldwide who lack accessibility to the internet. The company estimates launching dozens of nano satellites  within the next year to keep up with demand. HCT also plans to multi-use this antenna to communicate with shipping containers from the port of origin to the final destination.

HCT designed the custom-built “quadrifilar” helical antennas at its Rockledge-based operations and shipped them to the Netherlands where Hiber’s headquarters are based. Hiber, in turn, added other cubesats and shipped to their launch destinations.  In remote regions worldwide, subscribers purchase a low-cost modem which allows them to connect to Hiber’s constellations placed in low earth orbit. The goal is to have  a  constellation of satellites providing internet from space instead of relying on underwater or above ground cable.

“It is an honor and priveldge to work with a company like Hiber, who has strong business ethics,”  stated O’Neill. “We anticipate a long and successful relationship with them as they move forward to provide internet connectivity to millions of people who lack that ability in areas where cable internet is simply not realistic.”

In 2017, HCT was selected for the NASA Technology Docking Program, a unique arrangement from the agreement between the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast (EDC) and NASA that awards select companies the opportunity to work with a NASA subject matter expert to review any technology hurdle they may be encountering. Typically only five companies are selected each year.  The EDC is the only EDO in the country that offers this service to their local companies.

HCT’s offices in Rockledge, Florida also contain an anechoic chamber for testing radiation patterns without echo effects.  Manufacturing is strictly done locally in Brevard County Florida to maintain top quality and frequent inspections. The company has plans to ramp up production rapidly as customer orders increase. They expect a significant upsurge in sales due to market expansion over the next two years as their patented technology is unique, will be manufacturerd  at a lower cost and can be custom built to scale locally depending on the application in any quantity.

Helical Communications Technologies is a research, design and manufacturer of low-cost and reliable deployable antennas for the space-based and ground station communication sector. They additionally offer confidential consultations to military and commercial agencies around the globe. They are located in Rockledge on Florida’s Space Coast, Brevard County Florida.