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Drones: A Game Changer for the SatCom Industry

12 August 2020

With more and more satellites being sent into various orbits, the number of antennas on the ground is increasing rapidly. As with many industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to some challenges for the satellite industry. A survey by Northern Sky Research (NSR) indicated that 44% of satellite companies have experienced a significant impact. At the same time, the survey suggests that if a handful of companies succeed, the next decade will see more satellites put into orbit than all the satellites launched since Sputnik 1 in 1957.

This massive growth is already making it crowded and is set to make it even more so over the coming years. This will inevitably have a knock-on effect and we will undoubtedly see a rise in issues such as satellite interference.

At the same time, competition is high. Broadcasters, once the biggest clients for satellite, are increasingly moving to more IP-based methods. Therefore, the satellite industry is under massive pressure to keep costs low and service delivery high, in order to compete with other communication methods.

All of this means that ensuring good and reliable antenna performance is more important than ever. This was indeed the impetus behind the Satellite Operator’s Minimum Antenna Performance group, setup to ensure that all antennas function to a specified level of performance before being allowed to operate on any satellite network. Testing has risen up the agenda.

However, currently antennas are measured in dedicated test-facilities which is time-consuming, logistically heavy, and expensive. This means it is more important than ever to try and find an alternative, more effective means of antenna testing within the industry without sacrificing the reliability.

If you have been following what we are doing, you will know that we have developed an innovative tech that is set to revolutionize antenna testing using drone technology, coupled with the advancement of microwave technology. Our solution means that we will be able to gradually eliminate the requirement to transport antennas to dedicated test ranges. This method of testing will transform antenna performance measurement into a flexible, simple, quick and cost-effective method that has the potential to increase the overall quality of antenna terminals used in satellite communication.

In the latest Microwave Journal, we outline the technology and its potential. If you want a better understanding of why it will be a game-changer for the satellite industry, read the full article in Microwave Journal.


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