Norsat Satellite Solutions' GlobeTrekker is a portable satellite system built for first responders, military personnel and even journalists who work in and need to transmit data from remote and often harsh environments.

Norsat's President Bill Coyne said the product is ideal for first responders in the field because the unit fits into two shock-protected backpacks, weighs approximately 48.5 pounds and can be set up in about 15 minutes by following the Microsoft XP interface on the unit's wired, touch-screen display. An auto-acquire GPS component obtains the satellite signal, and a built-in, 1-meter antenna then lets users establish a broadband connection of up to 4 Mb/s and transmit data from an incident to a command-and-control center via the Ku band at 14.0 GHz to 14.5 GHz.

Because of the auto-acquire GPS component, first responders can set up the unit without programming location details, such as longitude and latitude.

“Field operators or those with little technical knowledge can deploy it during emergency situations,” Coyne said. “The technology lets first responders focus on people, rather than on setting up and figuring out the technology.”

The satellite is parachute and helicopter friendly and can be operated in a harsh environment because its radio frequency electronics are hermetically sealed. This prevents water egress and other elements from affecting the system, Coyne said. In addition, there is a built-in sensor that checks the internal components and warms or cools them depending on ambient temperatures. There also are three layers of physical protection, including a hard-shell exterior, shock-absorbing foam inserts and shock-mounted, base-band electronics.

Agencies and enterprises will need a significant budget for large-scale deployment of the devices. Prices start at $100,000 per unit, depending on options.