INDIGO (Intelsat Newtec DIaloG Open system) is the fourth project  initiated and funded under the ARTES Partner Programme element with the aim of supporting industry-initiated Public Private Partnerships.

INDIGO is a partnership with the satellite operator Intelsat to develop, validate and initiate the roll-out, within its advanced High Throughput Satellite (HTS) system, of a highly innovative ground segment solution from a European industrial consortium. This is led by the satellite ground segment equipment supplier, ST Engineering iDirect Europe (formerly Newtec).

The resulting products will allow European players to increase their competitiveness by delivering a versatile ground segment solution with unmatched capabilities on today’s market.

This initiative is a ‘kick start’ opportunity for the fast introduction of an innovative solution to the market via its inclusion in the Intelsat network. This will result in considerable additional and recurring business with the satellite operator, but also with other operators in the future.

The project encompasses the development, testing and validation of a highly innovative ground segment solution to fully exploit the higher performance of its next generation multi-spot, multi-band satellite fleet, by matching the advanced space segment (Intelsat EpicNG) with a highly versatile ground segment (Newtec’s Dialog). The validation is conducted in the frame of independent pre-operational pilots, addressing the specific needs of the individual business sectors identified: maritime, governmental, financial, cellular backhauling, point-to-point trunking, broadband, media.

The project is organised in two phases, with two waves of feature developments and validation in pre-operational service pilots. 

Virtualisation of Newtec Dialog platform (Image credit: ESA)

Ultimately, the combination of highly versatile space and ground segment – with increased performance and lower total cost of ownership – will enable the provision of end-user services in multiple market segments on land, sea and air that were not economically viable previously. 

The leverage of Intelsat has been instrumental for ST Engineering iDirect Europe in expanding their market reach geographically into the Americas and Africa. Achievements and technology benchmarks set in the INDIGO project were key for ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) in entering the mobility satcom market, in particular the maritime market and arising from being a new comer to become market leader. Furthermore the INDIGO project triggered a technology break-through in the aeronautical satcom sector.

Overall the INDIGO project has been very successful, already with a positive yield on investment as the industrial partners signed major commercial deals with customers in all sectors identified by the project, including the aeronautical inflight-entertainment sector.

Communications antenna on board the cargo vessel Stena Transporter

Ground segment equipment installed in Mozambique

User terminal installed in rural Colombia