A New Way to Access QuadSAT’s Drone-based Antenna Testing Solution

It’s undoubtedly an incredibly exciting time to be working in satcom. While the demand for increased connectivity and high availability is creating competition in the form of technologies such as 5G and IP, it is also driving forward change across the satcom industry. We’re seeing unprecedented expansion in LEO, technological advancement in the space segment, a drive towards multi-orbit environments and innovation in antenna technology. And to add to that list, now at QuadSAT, we’re really excited to have released a productised version of our ground-breaking drone-based antenna and radio frequency test and measurement solution.

The development and release of the solution as a product was made possible through funding received from the ESA ARTES Core Competitiveness programme and support from partners such as the Global VSAT Forum (GVF).

QuadSAT’s innovative drone-based system for test and verification of antennas and radio frequency equipment is fully automated, flexible, and location independent.  It consists of state-of-the-art drone technology, integrated with a custom RF payload as well as automation and measurement software. A broad range of testing missions can be undertaken, anytime, anywhere, depending on user requirements.

Recognising that one size does not fit all, customers can now either choose to acquire the productised version of QuadSAT’s test and verification technology, or use the managed service. How do you know which route is right for your needs? 

1. Acquire your own version and carry out testing missions as required 

This option is particularly useful for companies that have a lot of testing missions to complete. With this version, users will receive detailed training from QuadSAT prior to deployment, but will then be responsible for completing own test missions and obtaining own test results. Therefore, acquiring your own version may be right for you if, you have experienced staff on hand and are confident to operate the system yourself. You will also need to ensure that you have the appropriate resources to fly the drone and comply with relevant legislation. 

2. Use the managed service with testing carried out by QuadSAT engineers

If you feel that you don’t have the available resources to carry out your own testing as with the acquired version, the managed service may be a better fit for your company. This option may also be right for you if you want the peace of mind in knowing that QuadSAT is carrying out the testing, providing support, and handling drone requirements such as ensuring that all necessary permissions are in place to fly the drone.

QuadSAT will be presenting its drone-based solution for RF and antenna testing and measurements on its booth (U63) at Space Tech Expo in Bremen, Germany from 15th – 17th November.

For more information about how to access QuadSAT’s flexible, accurate and cost-efficient solution, or to book a meeting at Space Tech Expo, please visit https://quadsat.com/space-tech-expo-2022/

QuadSAT Productises its Drone-Based Antenna Testing Solution 

Odense, Denmark, 15th November 2022 – QuadSAT has launched a productised version of its ground-breaking drone-based antenna test and verification system. Previously available only as a managed service delivered by QuadSAT engineers, the solution can now be also be acquired for own testing needs. Users can carry out their own testing, anytime, anywhere, using QuadSAT’s testing solution.
 
QuadSAT’s innovative drone-based system for test and verification of antennas and radio frequency equipment is fully automated, flexible, and location independent.  It consists of state-of-the-art drone technology, integrated with a custom RF payload as well as automation and measurement software. A broad range of testing missions can be undertaken, anytime, anywhere, depending on user requirements. 
 
With this announcement, users can now carry out their own drone-based tests and measurements on antennas and radio frequency equipment, without the need for QuadSAT engineers on site. Users will receive detailed training from QuadSAT prior to deployment and support will be available as required. The managed service, which involves QuadSAT engineers carrying out the testing, will continue to be available when desired. 
 
The availability of the solution as a product was made possible through funding received from the ESA ARTES Core Competitiveness programme and support from partners such as the Global VSAT Forum (GVF).
 
Joakim Espeland, CEO of QuadSAT, commented: “Being able to deliver our solution as a product will help us to significantly scale deployment, bringing accurate yet cost-efficient testing to more users across the globe. While we will continue to deliver the service where it makes more sense, we anticipate many entities having to conduct ongoing tests will benefit from having their own version in house together with the training to deploy it effectively.”
 
QuadSAT will be presenting its drone-based solution for RF and antenna testing and measurements on its booth (U63) at Space Tech Expo in Bremen, Germany from 15th – 17th November. For more information or to book a meeting, please visit https://quadsat.com/space-tech-expo-2022/

Why Effective Antenna Testing is Critical for Future Network Success

After having been relatively constant for many years, the satellite industry is going through a period of significant change and development. LEO has become increasingly popular in recent years, which is unsurprising given the opportunities and benefits that it has the potential to deliver. Alongside the launch of mega constellations in LEO, we are also seeing a shift towards an increasingly multi-orbit environment. The demand for increased connectivity and high availability are key drivers behind both the rapid expansion in LEO and the need for agility across orbits and frequency bands. 

 

We’re increasingly seeing satellite operators merging MEO and GEO satellites with non-geostationary systems in order to meet the demand for high availability. With satellites in both MEO and GEO, SES has been building a multi-orbit network for some time. A number of other satellite operators have also now announced developments around multi-orbit systems. Intelsat recently partnered with OneWeb to bring multi-orbit connectivity to airlines worldwide, using OneWeb’s LEO satellite service combined with Intelsat’s existing GEO satellite service. Eutelsat and OneWeb have announced a merger to create a global multi orbit service.

 

While LEO satellites have the potential to transform the future of connectivity, their presence also creates technical challenges such as increased RF interference. While all satellites are at risk of RF interference, the non-geostationary nature of the mega constellations in LEO combined with their density, has amplified that risk. In order to minimise interference and service disruption, it is vital that antennas within the LEO ground segment are able to send and receive RF signals accurately. 

 

Designing new antennas

Antennas need to be designed to ensure that the ground segment is able to support and enable innovation in the satellite segment. Developing and designing new style antennas capable of providing continuous connectivity in a multi-orbit, multi-band and multi-network world is big business. According to recent analysis, the Satellite Antenna Market size was valued at USD 3.9 Billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 27.8 Billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 24.1% from 2023 to 2030. NSR predicted that revenue from FPA equipment sales alone is likely to generate nearly $17 billion in revenue over the next decade.

 

However, new style antennas will only be successful if they are operating as they should be. Added to that, as technologies such as 5G and IP continue to develop and improve, in order to remain competitive and relevant, as well as enabling these technologies, satellite operators have to ensure that their networks are operating seamlessly with no downtime. This is why accurate antenna testing and measurement is going to be more important than ever as we move forward. 

 

This doesn’t come without its own challenges. Antenna testing for non-geostationary LEO satellites is far more technically demanding than testing GEO or MEO geostationary satellite antennas. This is because of LEO antenna’s complex requirements such as the ability to track and switch satellites without losing connectivity. Traditional testing methods will most likely struggle to effectively meet the needs of tomorrow’s satellite services. This is where drone technology can really make a difference to antenna testing and measurement. 

 

Drone technology is revolutionising antenna testing

 

QuadSAT has developed a drone-based system for test and verification of radio frequency equipment. The system consists of state-of-the-art drone technology integrated with a custom RF payload as well as automation and measurement software. It is fully automated, and operationally flexible so can be used anytime and anywhere. It is also cost effective, reducing logistics and test time. 

 

Join us at Space Tech Expo

QuadSAT will be at Space Tech Expo in Bremen, Germany on 15th – 17th November. Join us for a panel discussion on ‘Designing the All Singing, All Dancing Antenna: Responding to End-user Terminal Requirement for Future Network Success’.

 

To find out more about our testing capabilities, visit QuadSAT on booth U63.

3 Ways to See QuadSAT at AMTA

Flat panel antenna testing with quadsat drone

The annual conference dedicated to the field of antenna and related measurements, the Annual Symposium of the Antenna Measurement Techniques Association (AMTA), takes place next month, this time in Denver, Colorado.

The symposium brings together the key players in the field of antenna measurement and as such, is a fantastic opportunity to find out about all the latest developments. This year’s symposium promises a packed technical program of presentations and demonstrations, in which QuadSAT is excited to be included.

AMTA is shaping up to be a busy conference, so we want to make the most of the available networking opportunities. Here are 3 ways to see us at AMTA: 

1. Technical Demonstration 

Check out our live demonstration on Tuesday 11th October from 3:40pm to 5:30pm. Taking place at the South Courtyard of the Westin, we will be flying our drone and demonstrating how we use it to take antenna and RF measurements. Alongside the demo, we would like to invite you to join us for refreshments. For those with time to spare following the demo, we are happy to field any questions you may have over drinks. 

2. Visit the QuadSAT stand 

We will be on hand throughout the event, showcasing our innovative drone-based system for test and verification of radio frequency equipment. The system consists of state-of-the-art drone technology integrated with a custom RF payload as well as automation and measurement software. This means it is fully automated, and can be deployed anywhere, at any time.

Join us on stand 222 to find out more about our ground-breaking system for antenna testing and calibration.

3. Presenting the Technology 

On Monday 10th October, we will be delivering a presentation during the afternoon session on ‘UAV and Robotic Antenna Measurement’.

Our presentation is on ‘Use of UAVs for outdoor diagnostics of large antennas’ and will take place from 1:30pm to 1:48pm.

AMTA 2022 takes place from 9th – 14th October in Denver, Colorado. Please get in touch with QuadSAT for more information, or to arrange a meeting.

We hope to see you there.

QuadSAT Demonstrating its Drone Testing System Live at AMTA

QuadSAT Drone in flight

Odense, Denmark, 28th September 2022 – QuadSAT, a specialist in test and verification of radio frequency equipment, will be carrying out a live demonstration of its drone-based technology next month at the  Annual Symposium of the Antenna Measurement Techniques Association (AMTA). 
 
QuadSAT’s innovative drone-based system for test and verification of antennas and radio frequency equipment is fully automated, flexible, and location independent.  The system consists of state-of-the-art drone technology, integrated with a custom RF payload as well as automation and measurement software. With QuadSAT’s drone-based system, a broad range of testing missions can be undertaken, anytime, anywhere, depending on user requirements. 
 
The live demonstration will take place on Tuesday 11th October from 3:40pm to 5:30pm at the Westin, at AMTA. At the demonstration, QuadSAT will be flying its drone and showing how it is used to take antenna and RF measurements. Refreshments and the opportunity to ask questions will follow the demonstration.
 
QuadSAT will also be presenting two technical presentations on Monday 10th October. The first presentation is on ‘Use of UASs for outdoor diagnostics of large antennas’ and will take place from 1:30pm. The second presentation is on ‘Satellite communication handover test planning with multi-agent system of UAVs’ and will take place from 2:24. 
 
Carlo Rizzo, CCO, QuadSAT, commented: “With so much change happening in the satellite environment, never has it been more important to ensure ground station equipment is operating as it should be. At the same time, just as satellite is adapting, testing needs to adapt to become more flexible, time- and cost-efficient, without losing any of the all-important accuracy. In this demonstration, we will show participants how our ground-breaking drone-based testing system is revolutionising antenna testing.”
 
QuadSAT will be showcasing its drone-based solution for RF and antenna measurements on its booth 222) at AMTA from 9th – 14th October in Denver, Colorado. 

ESA: Enabling Innovation Through Funding

With the much-anticipated launch of Artemis 1, eyes around the world are yet again focused on space and all of the opportunities that it has to offer. The fragility of life on Earth is more apparent than ever, so it is little wonder that there seems to be renewed desire and momentum to find out more about Earth, its immediate environment, the Solar System and the Universe. 

 

There has been a significant increase in investment in startup space companies in recent years coupled with a whole host of innovation to help the industry maximize the opportunities that this presents. As we discussed in a previous blog, new technologies are reshaping not only how we use space, but also how services are being delivered to consumers. Naturally, developing satellite technology and services is a fundamental part of space development, and without the likes of the European Space Agency (ESA) and other funding organisations, innovation would undoubtedly be stifled. 

 

Promoting innovation

 

ESA plays an important role is promoting innovation. It is dedicated to the exploration of space and exists to develop Europe’s space capability, while ensuring that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to industry and citizens. It fulfils an enabling and supporting role, providing guidance, and promoting innovation through funding provision. 

 

For a startup to move from the point of researching a great idea, through to developing a prototype, testing, then launching, investment is needed for each stage.  It can be particularly difficult for startups to get investors for prototype development and testing stages. This is because, typically, there is less risk in investing in a finished, proven product. This is why funding from ESA and other similar funding organisations is so crucial in ensuring ongoing innovation in the space and satellite industry. They help to plug the funding gap in the early stages of the process, where private investors are less inclined to commit or as an additional input alongside those investors.

 

Case in point: QuadSAT

 

QuadSAT is a venture-backed tech company and has raised more than €4.6 million in total funding since inception. Some of our funding has come from ESA. 

 

After coming up with the initial idea as part of a university product, through securing funding, we have gone on to develop a drone-based system for test and verification of radio frequency equipment. The system consists of state-of-the-art drone technology integrated with a custom RF payload as well as automation and measurement software. This means it is fully automated, flexible and location independent.

 

In 2021, we partnered with ESA in a €300,000 development project and earlier this year, it was awarded €500,000 by ESA under ARTES Core Competitiveness programme. The additional funding has enabled us to continue the successfully concluded technology phase and enter into the product phase development project. Without the type of funding made available by ESA, QuadSAT and other innovators out there will undoubtedly find it much more difficult to get their ideas off the ground. 

 

Visit QuadSAT at ESA’s Industry Space Days event 2022

 

This year, ESA is holding its tenth Industry Space Days (ISD) event on 28th – 29th September at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. The event is a great opportunity for small and medium companies to introduce and promote innovative ideas, products and services. 

 

We are excited to be exhibiting at the event and is looking forward to showing how our ground-breaking drone technology is optimising satellite ground segments through providing high-quality, on-site testing. Get in touchto find out more. 

Overcoming the Challenges of Testing Large Antennas

I think most people would agree that testing antennas is absolutely critical to ensuring seamless satellite connectivity. It is only becoming even more important as we move towards an ever more crowded space environment. Antennas should of course be tested before operation but ideally also on an ongoing basis to ensure errors don’t occur. This can be challenging for any type of antenna, especially using more traditional testing methods.  

As the size of the antenna increases, this becomes even more complex. Large antennas are relied upon for a number of important applications, including earth observation, deep space observation, radio astronomy, as well as broadcast and telecoms. Ensuring these antennas are working correctly is fundamental to the success of these types of missions, but current methods make it difficult and costly for operators and manufacturers to ensure a good level of testing can take place. 

Up until now there have been three main options for testing large antennas: 

1. On-orbit Testing

In this method, the test would use an available satellite segment to generate patterns for large satellite antennas. As a testing method, this works relatively well however it has a number of limitations.  

Firstly, the frequency range available to test on can be limited as it depends on satellite capacity available in proximity to the antenna under test. With more and more demand for satellite connectivity, available capacity can anyone not always be feasible. This method also required a great deal of coordination with other earth stations as to make these measurements you need to measure the power levels on the other side of the link. This level of coordination means the test cannot simply be done on your own terms and timing and this often can delay launches.  

Accuracy is also not always guaranteed and can vary greatly. In particular it is challenging to achieve the correct polarization settings, which makes it hard to achieve correct radiation diagram.

Unsurprisingly, given the level of coordination needed and the need to use a live satellite link, this method is extremely time consuming, which can often lead to launches being delayed.  

2. Fixed RF beacons

The other option is to use fixed RF beacons to perform the tests. Unless these happen to already be in place, this generally involves building a large structure, which is both time consuming and expensive. Sometimes this can work with temporary structures, but that is generally difficult due to alignment issues at large distances. Getting the right experts in to construct it is critical but can prove to be logistically challenging. Bearing all that in mind, this is generally only worthwhile if tests are going to be carried out on a continual basis from that same location.  

Even then, fixed RF beacons deliver very limited testing possibilities because of their fixed nature. As they cannot be moved, you are limited to whatever movements the antenna under test (AUT) is able to perform in the range surrounding the beacon. As this is on the ground, this also limits the scan angle. All of this means that you cannot have a full view of performance until the antenna is live and at that point, any problems can of course cause real errors for customers. 

3. Celestial bodies 

Another common method for testing large antennas is that of using celestial bodies, such as the sun, moon, or known bright radio sources. This works similarly to the other methods described but changing the source. While this can achieve good test results in the right circumstances, the number of usable sources is extremely limited. This is even more challenging for small antennas. 

Of course, the other big challenge with celestial bodies is that their position and visibility depends on the time of year and tilt of the earth. Constellations are only visible in any given location at certain times of the year and for all of these the fluxes and sizes can fluctuate over time. Added to that, there is the propensity for atmospheric changes depending on location, which can vary the intensity of that source.

 

Can we make testing large antennas more feasible?

This is a question we asked ourselves. At QuadSAT, our main goal is to make testing more accessible without losing any of the quality. It was clear from the outset that bringing our testing solutions to a large antenna would be a challenge, but it was one we were keen to embrace.  

Testing large antennas, and therefore over large distances, could cause potential dynamic range problems with higher losses than with smaller antennas. Also, the larger the distance, the more likely that there will be objects in the path which could limit the scan angle.  

We realised that there were differences also depending on whether the antenna under test can move. If it can, then we could use the drone as a beacon. Although this has some of the limitations described with fixed RF beacons, it is certainly much more cost effective and of course can be moved to different places.  

For antennas that cannot move, we realised there would be another challenge derived from the large distance and that is that the arc length increases with the distance. This means that a longer flight path would be needed to achieve the same angular range, thus increasing measurement time. When testing with drones you need to consider the limited battery life so prolonging the measurement time caused a potential challenge in this environment.  

On a logistical level, flying at higher altitudes requires more permissions, a higher level of difficulty for the pilot, and comes with higher costs. 

How did we solve it?

 

As with any of our tests, the key to success was planning. These are the important steps for tests of this type: 

1. Do a detailed site survey

This is important for any test, but even more so when dealing with a large antenna. Having a proper view of the site means we can see first hand any potential challenges and obstructions. 

2. Calculate power requirements

By calculating the required power and amplification, we are able to ensure an acceptable dynamic range. 

3. Reduce the scan angle as much as possible

Keeping the scan angle to what is required and not going much above that, we can limit the necessary flight distance as much as possible without compromising the test.

4. Hotswap the battery

We prolong the battery life by performing battery hot swaps on the drone. This means we quickly land the drone mid-flight and swap the battery. Once done, the drone can quickly resume its flight and carry on with the measurement. 

 

Our first successful campaign with a large antenna was working alongside teams from the European Space Agency’s ESOC mission control centre to complete a measurement campaign of large antennas at Kiruna Earth Station.  

Measurements were taken in X-band and circular polarisation at a distance of almost 10 km from the antenna. In addition to pattern cuts, raster scans were performed to give a full view of the antennas’ performance. A raster scan delivers a full azimuth-over-elevation view of a portion of the radiation pattern, thus focusing on the overall radiation characteristics of the antenna and ensuring no impact from reflections in the landscape, water, or surrounding buildings, among other diagnostics. 

Following on from that, we worked with Oxford Space Systems to test its innovative Cassegrain reflector antenna. With very few facilities available that can accommodate such a large antenna for RF testing measurement, Oxford Space Systems engaged QuadSAT to overcome the challenges of testing such a large reflector diameter. 

While it is clear that testing large antennas will still need careful planning and detailed site surveys, these campaigns have proven it is possible to perform high quality tests of these types of antennas using our drone-based system. Given the complexity and cost of existing methods for large antennas, we are excited by the potential to support quality assurance and improve reliability. 

 

We will be heading to Space-comm on 7th and 8th September. Book a meeting with us there to find out more about our testing capabilities.

Why investors are looking to space

You don’t have to look far to see investment in space making headlines in the mainstream media. As we see significant players invest in satcom, the public are taking notice of the changing use of space, with mega constellations in Lower Earth Orbit being one of the most discussed shifts within space-use in years. According to Bryce Tech, investment is mirroring this trend; startup space companies raised $15.4 billion in total financing in 2021, double the amount raised in 2020. In 2022, space delivers exciting investment prospects; new technologies are reshaping how we utilise space and influencing the services being delivered to consumers. 

 
Here are 3 reasons why investors are turning to opportunities in space in 2022:

 

1.    Growing demand for connectivity

 

There is a huge expectation to remain connected to communication networks. Consumers, businesses, and infrastructures are all relying upon having uninterrupted access to connectivity. The Internet of Things is being utilised for many reasons, from consumer convenience to operational efficiency methods. As more and more infrastructure is moved online, the importance placed on communication systems also grows. The satcom is industry is developing to manage the demand, with LEO expanding to offer low-cost and low-latency services. 

 

2.    Technical challenges at delivery

 

Although robust, satcom is a complex network in which intelligent technology is required to manage the infrastructure.  As the infrastructure develops to cater for the industry’s growth, so does its complexity. Innovation is hugely important within the industry right now; new solutions are being created to manage challenges caused by the huge increase in the number of satellites, both in-orbit and at the ground segment.  Investment paired with innovation will enable the maximum potential of space-use.

 

3.    Strategic investments due to political challenges

 

Many are now recognising the importance of space within complex geopolitical networks. With reliance upon connectivity at an all-time high, many are seeing it as imperative to invest in developing secure, robust, and resilient communications methods. 

 

 

At QuadSAT we see the important role that innovation plays in maximising opportunities within all verticals of the satcom industry. Managing the ground segment effectively is a crucial part of the in-orbit expansion and implementation. Without the correct management of RF signals, in-orbit investments are at risk of poor infrastructural rollouts. The ground segment is increasing in complexity; the growing number of teleports paired with new challenges, such as 5G and LEO tracking and switching, means that extra focus must be given to ensuring that the ground segment is capable of meeting demands. 

 

Our drone-based technology is modernising Electromagnetic Testing; in-field testing incorporates environmental factors and therefore provides the most realistic results, enabling operators to gain a true insight into antenna performance. By minimising downtime and logistical costs, the technology is providing the ground segment with affordable and accessible testing to promote better testing regimes. RF management will always be a fundamental aspect of satellite-use and facilitating the industry to embrace in-field testing regimes will mitigate RFI and maximise antenna throughput, thus improving both customer experience and ROI.


QuadSAT is providing solutions to the defence, wireless and automotive industries too in addition to the satcom industry. QuadSAT is a venture-backed tech company and has raised more than €4.6 million in total funding. In 2021, we partnered with ESA in a €300,000 development project. Since then, we have worked alongside satellite operators in LEO, MEO and GEO, including operators SES and OneWeb, to optimise their ground infrastructures.

 

Read more about QuadSAT’s latest news now


QuadSAT to benefit from ESA’s ARTES Core Competitiveness programme for an additional €500,000 product phase development project

Odense, Denmark, 16th June 2022 – QuadSAT, a Danish company specialising in test and verification of radio frequency equipment, has announced it has been awarded additional funding (€500,000) by ESA under ARTES Core Competitiveness programme to enter into the product phase development project, thus continuing the successfully concluded technology phase. Within the contracted activity QuadSAT will further develop, validate and certify its UAV testing system, providing the industry with a solution that enables flexible and accurate satellite antenna testing and calibration.


 

QuadSAT’s system is fully automated, flexible, and location independent, making it capable of scaling and transforming how antennas are tested. The systems consist of state-of-the-art drone technology, integrated with a custom RF payload as well as automation and measurement software. With QuadSAT’s drone-based system, a broad range of testing missions can be undertaken, depending on user requirements. This has already been extensively tested, with missions ranging from performing verification of OneWeb’s ground segment antennas ahead of the global rollout of its LEO constellation, to working alongside teams from the European Space Agency’s ESOC mission control centre to complete a measurement campaign of large antennas at Kiruna Earth Station.

 


ESA’s ARTES Core Competitiveness programme helps European and Canadian industry to develop innovative satcom products, service and systems. It provides support at any point of the technology development process, from initial idea to a fully-fledged product, system or service. The programme provides the funding, multi-disciplinary expertise, business knowledge, opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), international consortia and contacts needed to turn the concept into reality. ESA has provided technical assessments and guidance and supported QuadSAT to further develop their concept to a full product.

 


Joakim Espeland, CEO of QuadSAT, commented: “Collaborating with ESA provides us with a platform to further develop and demonstrate our product’s capabilities and validate its efficacy within the satcom ecosystem. It is instrumental in gaining industry recognition for our product. The ARTES programme is an excellent opportunity as it provides organisations with access to ESA resources to accelerate the development of productization. The support we have received from ESA has been exceptional.”

 


Domenico Mignolo, Head of Ground Segment section of ESA, added: “ARTES Core Competitiveness programme was established to support the transformation of innovative ideas into new products within satcom enabling the competitiveness of ESA Member States Industry. Our collaboration with QuadSAT has accelerated its research and product development process and enabled it to validate its accuracy and efficiency to pursue business opportunities. We are glad to support QuadSAT in its product development.”

 


Throughout its work with the ARTES programme, QuadSAT has received ongoing technical support from GVF. David Meltzer, Secretary General at GVF, added, “Product maintenance and quality assurance is crucial in managing satellite communications. QuadSAT’s can provide the industry with an accessible, low-cost tool which can ensure accuracy at the ground segment. The technology not only supports product development and qualification during the design phase, but more importantly, provides the satellite operator with an accurate measure of the equipment performance after its installation in the field. This capability is unique. We’re happy to be providing QuadSAT with technical support. Its partnership with the ARTES Core Competitiveness programme will benefit the industry as a whole.”

 


QuadSAT’s system is a key disruptor within RFI mitigation; its low-cost and flexible solution transforms accessibility to high-quality testing within satcom. The system provides pre- and post-flight software to ensure repeatability, control over the drone during measurements, ease of operation and data delivery in a uniform format. This in-depth testing will provide quality assurance and improve reliability throughout the satcom industry, allowing the industry to deliver the networks required for the connectivity of the future.

 


Thanks to the ARTES Core Competitiveness programme, QuadSAT will work on a productised version of its solution that can be operated directly by users. This will help significantly scale the technology and make test and measurements of satellite antennas much more accessible, anywhere in the world.

 

3 reasons RFI is a current issue within Milsat

Radio Frequency Interference has been a longstanding issue within satellite and the military’s use of satellite communications is not immune from the problem. RFI has been closely monitored for years and the creation of mitigation tools has been prioritised within the industry. However, how does the rapidly changing landscape within space affect RFI in 2022? Here are 3 reasons RFI must be evaluated and addressed with new solutions:

1.    The changing use of multiorbital space 

Lower and Medium Earth Orbits are currently seeing a drastic overhaul in use; mega constellations are being launched, and new entrants are establishing themselves within commercial markets. LEO ground segments are far more complex than those previously seen within satellite. LEO mega constellations are primarily utilising Ku and Ka bands as they offer greater throughput in smaller dishes. The need for test and measurement increases with greater directivity as it increases the likelihood of RFI and the severity of its impact on services. Additionally, due to low orbital altitude, tracking and switching through multiple gateways is standard practice and therefore the monitoring of tracking accuracy and satellite acquisition quality during handovers will be critical in managing the sector’s use of spectrum and preventing RFI within military.  

2.    Multiple constellations using the same bandwidth  

Within GEO, there is usually one entity in a frequency band per orbital slot meaning that coordination mitigates interference caused by ‘border issues’ between satellites in adjacent slots. With LEO, however, we have potentially multiple constellations using the same frequency bandwidth. Each constellation is in multiple orbits and orbit heights. This could potentially lead to valid transmissions from authorized satellites causing interference at any given spot on the earth with the interference being intermittent and different at any given location. Within military operations it will be critical to ensure that operators have access to in-field tools to identify and mitigate RFI.

 

3.    5G’s operational impact on satellite 

5G has delivered fresh challenges within spectrum management, with two industries with differing needs working closely within spectrum. RF noise is a considerable issue caused by the high number of 5G cells required to run an effective network. There is a risk that signals within the wider spectrum will become overloaded. Technology has been developed to mitigate this, however there is anecdotal evidence of satellite signals being negatively affected by 5G responders. 5G adds another layer of risk of RFI and satellite users must take steps to monitor and control its impact to prevent loss of services. 

 

How can satellite manage new RFI challenges?

As the RFI landscape changes to reflect the developing use of space, it is critical that satellite users build robust solutions to safeguard teleports from incidents. Perhaps the most obvious solution: ensuring that the ground segment has access to suitable testing and monitoring technology is key in enabling successful management of the ground segment. Making on-site testing available and cost effective, teleport operatives can utilise accurate results to take the necessary steps to mitigate disturbances with the knowledge that amendments are cost-effective, necessary and will be successful. Great quality equipment paired with rigorous and thorough testing and monitoring solutions is going to be key in mitigating incidents and maintaining reliable communication channels.

 

Drone technology is optimising satellite ground segments through providing high-quality, on-site testing. Meet with QuadSAT at IET Milsatcoms in London on 16th-17th June 2022 to learn more.