Lockheed Martin has developed an LTE-over-satellite system to support connectivity in remote areas and in the event of natural disasters by connecting 4G devices directly to satellites in orbit.
The company said Wednesday it developed the system to complement satellite phones with commercial phones and connect users to a pop-up cellular network.
"When disaster strikes, cell phone networks often go down – whether because of the event or because of the sheer volume of traffic," said Maria Demaree, vice president and general manager of mission solutions at Lockheed's space segment.
"It's important to have new ways to connect families and first responders with people who would be otherwise cut off from contact."
The mobility platform is intended to function in areas without cell phone coverage, offshore, during natural disasters, remote mineral production outposts, scientific and research stations and in agriculture operations. Users can also mount hotspots to vehicles, trucks or ships for additional connectivity and to transmit locational data, shipment information and voice communication.
Lockheed collaborated with France-based 4G technology provider Sequans Communication on the development project.
The Bethesda, Md.-based defense contractor produced the LTE-to-satellite specification, while Sequans updated its LTE chips to support the communications standard.