QuadSAT drone performs antenna tests on 15m antenna

QuadSAT drone performs antenna tests on 15m antenna

The company highlights that its the first time a drone-based system has been used to measure a 15-metre antenna and perform tracking tests with it.

Specifically, the campaign saw QuadSAT testing KIR-1 (a 15m antenna) and KIR-2 (a 13m antenna) at the earth station on behalf of ESA’s ESOC centre.

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The drone-based system – which involves a customised payload mounted onto a professional-grade UAS (unmanned aircraft system) – is designed to avoid having to use either satellite tracking, which requires a free satellite segment and coordination with the satellite operator, or fixed RF beacons, involving the construction of a large testing structure.

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The company reports that 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, it said.

According to QuadSAT, a raster scan delivers a full azimuth-over-elevation view of a portion of the radiation pattern, thereby focusing on the overall radiation characteristics of the antenna and also ensuring no impact from reflections – in the landscape, water or surrounding buildings – among other diagnostics.

“We are really excited to be working with ESA following all the support we have received from the ESA ARTES program,” said Joakim Espeland, CEO of QuadSAT. “We believe that these tests represent a major leap in the capabilities of testing large antennas, something that has been extremely challenging until now.”

For its part, ESA commented.

“The QuadSAT system has the potential to revolutionise satellite antenna testing and measurement, especially as it has now proven its ability to test large antennas,” said Piermario Besso, Head of the Antenna and Infrastructure Section at ESA. “This system will aid in providing quality assurance and improving reliability.”

QuadSAT

QuadSAT drone performs antenna tests on 15m antennaThe company was founded in 2017 and its system, as mentioned, uses a custom-built RF payload, drone technology, and mathematical algorithms to simulate satellites and more quickly carry out antenna performance tests.

Specifically, QuadSAT can measure radiation patterns of antennas, enabling the validation of feed alignment and the direction of pointing.

It is backed by London-based Seraphim Capital and Danish state growth fund Vaekstfonden.

See also: Danish drones guide OneWeb’s antenna testing

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