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QuadSAT’s drone system emulates orbital passes of LEO/MEO

The system also enables antenna manufacturers to test exact operational scenarios before delivering their products. 

QuadSAT has announced the ability of its drone system to emulate orbital passes of a LEO or MEO satellite as seen from the antenna on the ground. The patent-pending technology allows for virtual passes to be generated from any angle and any direction, regardless of the antenna’s location.

Added as a compliment to the existing antenna measurement in a box solution, this system has been equipped to fly precise, time-dependent, and on-demand passes, helping to extend the test scenarios further. Due to the TLE generation tool, the system users can continually emulate passes of interest in a controlled environment, resulting in a holistic verification approach of antenna tracking.

The payload on the drone is further enhanced to act as a satellite transponder. The payload interacts with the antenna under test by transmitting a modulated carrier towards the antenna-modem system. The payload also can receive and demodulate or store IQ files for future post-processing.

Due to the utilisation of RTK (Real Time Kinematics) GNSS technology, QuadSAT is able to ensure centimetre positional accuracy for these applications.

With this feature, QuadSAT is able to create an on-demand simulation environment to test and verify the antenna pointing offset across its operational range, verify the antenna tracking capability, and test real-life operational scenarios. Rather than waiting for specific passes, the user can generate these on-the-go.

Andrian Buchi, CTO of QuadSAT, said: “When launching a new constellation, satellite operators need to ensure that the ground segment is installed correctly and calibrated prior to launch. By simulating exact passes and beaming the signal directly on the target antenna, we can enable them to avoid unforeseen delays that occur when the antenna is unable to acquire the live satellite. While it is possible to test using existing LEO/MEO satellites, beam pointing is limited to only where that constellation has users or gateways. Even when a constellation is up and running, this system delivers much more flexibility, ensuring repeatable test procedures and antenna qualification methods.”

The system is also designed to enable antenna manufacturers to test exact operational scenarios before delivering a product to their customers.

The payload is able to simulate Doppler shift, as well as signal variations due to distance path loss or atmospheric attenuation. It can be used as a site acceptance tool test to establish system offsets, verify tracking and prove system reliability.

LEO/MEO tracking support is now available within the existing QuadSAT system. QuadSAT will be exhibiting at Space-comm from June  7 – 8 on Stand M3.