Quadsat Welcomes Karina Bergstrøm Larsen as New Chairman to Drive Commercial Growth

Odense, Denmark, 22nd February– Quadsat, a specialist provider of UAV-based RF measurement solutions, has appointed Karina Bergstrøm Larsen as its new Chairman of the Board.

Karina joins Quadsat with a rich and proven background in the satellite industry, having founded and scaled her own successful company, before orchestrating a triumphant exit to Honeywell Aerospace. Karina is now an independent consultant for satellite and aerospace, as well as putting her time into mentoring and encouraging girls to follow a career in STEM.

Karina’s appointment comes as Torben Frigaard Rasmussen transitions from his role as Chairman, following his instrumental role in securing a significant Series A funding round of €9 million for Quadsat last year. His leadership has been pivotal in setting the stage for Quadsat’s expansion and technological advancements. Torben continues to stay closely related to Quadsat as shareholder and trusted advisor.

Commenting on the transition, Torben Frigaard Rasmussen remarked: “I am immensely proud of the progress Quadsat has made under my stewardship. Karina’s appointment marks an exciting new chapter for the company, and I have full confidence in her ability to lead Quadsat to even greater success.”

Karina Bergstrøm Larsen added: “Quadsat has developed a game-changing technology for the satcoms industry and has already gained a lot of interest and traction. Having known the team at Quadsat for a number of years, I know we have a shared passion and dedication to innovation and excellence. I am looking forward to working with the team to ramp up the commercial growth.”

Quadsat’s unique testing solution is democratizing accurate test and optimization, enabling network owners to ensure world-class performance for their customers at all times. This cost-effective, scalable, and precise method is simplifying antenna testing, while making it globally available.

Joakim Espeland, CEO and Founder of Quadsat, said: “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Torben for his leadership and dedication to Quadsat. His guidance has been instrumental in our growth. As we move onto the next stage, I am excited to be working with Karina. I know that her leadership and strategic acumen will put us in a strong position to capitalize on emerging opportunities and spearhead advancements in satellite testing solutions.”

Quadsat will be exhibiting at Govsatcom on 22nd February (booth 28), EuCAP from 18th – 22nd March, and Satellite 2024 from 19th – 21st March (booth 1347)

3 Reasons Defense Needs In-situ Testing

It is widely understood that test and measurement tools enable the defense industry to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in electronic systems and networks through comprehensive testing and analysis. By simulating various attack scenarios and conducting communication tests and measure emersion, units can assess the resilience of their communication and identify potential points of failure.

 

With a rapidly evolving environment, it is becoming increasingly apparent how important it is for the industry to be able to conduct in-situ tests as and when required. In this blog, we outline just a few of the reasons why.

 

1. Defense is operating in a unique environment

 

The defense environment is one of extremes. Not only are military personnel often required to operate in remote environments, they are frequently doing so on the move. At the same time, the environment and scenarios can change rapidly, especially in a battle scenario. And yet, while a drop in connectivity is not desirable for any user group, in the defense sector, lives are literally depending on it. Military operations teams need to be able to communicate with confidence, navigate with certainty, perceive an operational area with lucidity, and engage with accuracy whether during peace, crisis, or conflict.

 

All of this means that the defense industry needs to be assured that its RF and electromagnetic equipment is operating seamlessly at all times, whatever the environment. The defense industry needs to both have ways to quickly, yet accurately test on the spot before questionable systems are sent into combat, as well as enabling troops to test in-situ as and when errors arise. This means errors can be pinpointed and resolved rapidly, before any major impact is suffered.

 

2. New technology is being introduced rapidly

 

The defense sector is a big adopter of new technology and with good reason. New innovations are crucial for delivering a crucial operational advantage. However, with all new technology there is always a certain level of risk that it might not operate as it should once in the environment. Testing in a dedicated test center is important before deployment but once out in the field, other factors might influence how it actually performs in real-life. Any errors with new equipment can cause setbacks and delays and makes it harder for defense to adopt this new technology.

 

Being able to train in a real operational environment enables military personnel to determine how that technology will respond before using it in a more critical situation. Rapid in-situ testing procedures also make it possible to speed up the adoption of new technology, helping the defense sector to more easily embrace innovations as they happen.

 

3. Threats are real and serious

 

Of course, one of the biggest things that sets the military apart is the simple fact that it is constantly facing very real and serious threats. From cyberattacks, anti-satellite launches, orbital threats, spying, laser illumination, to sabotage, jamming and spoofing, milsat systems are facing a raft of constantly evolving threats that it must protect its systems against. Electronic attacks have become increasingly sophisticated and are one of the most significant threats to military satellite systems. These attacks are hard to grasp in an operational environment and it can be challenging to measure and understand the real impact.

 

Being able to quickly test in-situ means operational teams can determine presence and impact of these kinds of attacks and take measures to get systems back online as quickly as feasibly possible. Investing in training and measuring equipment can empower defense system operators to analyze real threats and identify critical weak points and indicate hostile opportunities. Advanced diagnostic tools can not only detect ongoing attacks but also help to predict and prevent potential threats before they materialize.

 

How Quadsat is revolutionizing testing for the defense industry

 

Quadsat’s UAV-based testing solutions are helping the defence industry to flexibly, and cost-efficiently, perform regular in-situ testing. Quadsat can make the invisible threats visible. This means that the defense sector can better optimize signal performance while safeguarding mission-critical communications.

 

Come and see the team at Govsatcom (booth 28) to learn more. Get in touch to book a meeting.

Quadsat has joined UAS Norway

Quadsat testing in Svalbard

Odense, Denmark, 27th October 2023 Quadsat, a Danish company specializing in test and verification of radio frequency equipment, has joined UAS Norway, Norway’s national organization for facilitating and advancing civilian and commercial usage of unmanned aircraft systems, encompassing drones and the entire industry ecosystem. Joining UAS Norway will enable Quadsat to expand international collaboration and work with an internationally recognized and respected UAS organization.

 

UAS Norway is a non-profit, independent organization, open to all private and public companies and organizations related to unmanned aircraft. Its main aims are to be a representative of the Norwegian remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) environment, to promote policy in line with Norwegian RPAS industry and operators, to promote and participate in regulatory development, and to encourage safe usage, public acceptance and integration of drones across society. In addition, it operates as a co-player and a corrective organ for aviation authorities, politicians, and the business sector which is increasingly utilising drones as a part of its activities.

 

Søren Aarhus, Chief Operating Officer, Quadsat, commented: “UAVs have the potential to change how societies are organized and also to accelerate the green transition. Norway has proven to be in the lead when it comes to innovatively integrating professional UAV operations and manned aviation, at least in Scandinavia. As an international focused UAS operator, Quadsat wants to work with, and learn from, the best in class. That is why we decided to join UAS Norway, because it enables us to better service and support our customers, both in Norway and abroad.”

 

Anders Martinsen, CEO, UAS Norway, added: “Quadsat has developed a unique use case for drones that is already radically changing the way in which satellite equipment can be tested. We are happy to welcome Quadsat to the UAS Norway family, and proud that professional UAV operators look towards Norway for inspiration and to do business.” 

 

With its state-of-the-art drone technology, Quadsat, is dramatically simplifying testing of satellite equipment at every stage of its lifecycle. Quadsat’s system is fully automated, flexible, and location independent, making it capable of scaling and transforming how antennas are tested. The company has already worked with leading satellite companies, including OneWeb, SES, and the European Space Agency.

The Importance of Testing through an Antenna’s Lifecycle

The satcom industry is currently at a pivotal stage in its growth. Increased demand for connectivity and high availability, combined with technological developments, are creating immense opportunities. We’re seeing unprecedented expansion in LEO, as well as a visible move towards networks that span multi-orbits and frequencies. At the same time, the industry is also facing increased competition from emerging technologies in the form of 5G, 6G, and IP. To remain competitive and maximize the available opportunities, it is critical that networks are optimized, and that RF interference is mitigated. To ensure that antennas are operating efficiently and effectively for the duration of their life, it is essential that antennas are tested not just once when they are first put in to use, but also continuously throughout their life.

Why one test is not enough

Environmental factors

While antenna testing has always been a key part of ensuring satellites are operating properly, the focus has tended to be on testing the antenna before it goes into operation. Initial testing involves a factory acceptance test which is carried out after manufacturing is complete, and before the antenna is shipped. Relying solely on this factory testing method can be problematic because it does not take into account environmental factors that can, and do, impact how an antenna functions. Although a site acceptance test is completed when the antenna is on site before going live, it is not rigorous in the same way as factory testing so may not pick up issues caused by environmental factors. This could include line of sight issues, such as buildings, trees, or interference from other equipment in the vicinity, for example.

Changes to environment

Even where it’s been established at installation that there are no environmental factors impacting an antenna’s efficiency, it’s not unusual for environmental changes to occur post installation. There is every possibility that these changes will have a critical impact on gain and radiation patterns, thereby reducing an antenna’s performance. Ongoing testing is needed throughout an antenna’s life to detect these kinds of issues.

Degradation over time

RF equipment degrades over time, and this can impact performance and cause interference to occur. When this happens, operators use the tools and set processes to detect and resolve interference. The problem with this kind of reactive approach is that if issues are not identified until interference or other problems affecting service arise, the damage in terms of reputation and costs incurred is already done. To prevent interference or other problems, it’s important to test antennas regularly while they’re in use. This may seem like common sense so why is it not already happening?

Networks launching and expanding 

As networks launch and expand, challenges may arise that were not there at the point of initial installation. An antenna’s ability to function optimally can be affected when new satellites or networks are launched, or when new antennas are added to a network. Given how many satellites are predicted to launch over the next decade, and with the added complexity of multi-orbit networks, regular testing to detect these kinds of issues and make sure that antennas can handle changes to the environment is absolutely paramount.

Challenges of ongoing testing

Although operators would agree that ongoing testing through the duration of an antenna’s life is preferable, it doesn’t always happen for a number of reasons, and this comes down to the testing process. Historically, in-field testing hasn’t been a viable option because it involved significant resource investment to build housing for test equipment, and even then, tests would’ve likely been subject to constraints not experienced by a designated testing facility. This is why antenna testing has instead generally been carried out at testing facilities.

However, to do this requires the antenna to be transported to and from the facility which can be a logistically complex and costly operation. Added to that, there is also the potential for downtime while the antenna is being tested, which can incur further costs. So, given the cost, time and effort associated with testing, it’s not surprising that many operators take a reactive approach over a proactive approach. This may have been acceptable in the past when both sky and ground segments were less complex, but this is rapidly changing, and it’s becoming increasingly important to identify degradation before issues arise, both at operator and industry level.

Removing the barriers

Ongoing testing will enable operators to optimise the performance of equipment, something that is critical if they are to remain competitive and maximize available opportunities. Quadsat’s drone-based system for test and verification of radio frequency equipment makes it possible to regularly test antennas on site, in a reliable and cost-effective way. This method of testing provides operators with a flexible way to test RF equipment on-site, removing the need to transport antennas to a testing facility.

The Quadsat drone-based system consists of state-of-the-art drone technology integrated with a custom RF payload, and automation and measurement software. It is fully automated, and operationally flexible so can be used anytime and anywhere.

The Quadsat team will be at AMTA from 8th – 13th October. Book a meeting or visit us on booth 300 to find out more.

Revolutionizing Testing for the Defence Industry

The increasingly congested radio frequency spectrum and ever more complex networks are causing challenges for the defence industry. At the same time, both military satellite and radar networks are facing serious threats, both active (such as cyber-attacks, jamming, anti-satellite weapons), and passive threats (such as Radio Frequency Interference, debris, equipment failure, and even human error).

Given that the industry relies heavily on reliable satellite and radar systems for mission-critical intelligence and communications, this is naturally a major concern and something the industry is working hard to tackle.

In order to mitigate at least some of these threats, we believe regular testing in-situ should be a priority. Here are a few reasons why:

Safeguard mission-critical communications

We know that in defence, communications are not just important, they are often vital, even a life-line. If you are regularly testing and verifying your communications equipment, you will very quickly spot any errors with the equipment or the installation. That is even better if you are able to do that on site where the kit is sitting, as then you can also check for environmental factors such as interference.

Empower rapid-response capabilities

Radar plays a vital role in a range of military applications, including air traffic control, air and sea navigation, detection of aircraft or ships, targeting and attack, defence of critical infrastructure, and weather observation, so it’s imperative that it’s operating correctly. However, diagnostics of antennas and radar systems have historically been difficult to perform in-situ.

Optimize your signal performance

Having connectivity is just one part, defence companies need to ensure that the RF signal performance is optimized for clarity, integrity, and efficiency. Ensuring you have an optimum signal means you can rely on the performance and optimize your operations. Testing your equipment in-situ helps you check for any drops in that performance, as well as arming you with the knowledge to adapt and calibrate it to address any issues you uncover.

Leverage insights

It is of course not enough to know that something is not working well, you need actionable real-time insights so that you can make informed decisions and make any modifications needed. Testing on site with the right tools can help you gain those valuable oversights immediately to get your systems back up and running in no time.

Regular testing has traditionally been challenging and costly to do, especially on an ongoing basis. Our tools are changing that. We have worked with defence companies to deliver cost and time-efficient testing and verification of satellite and radar systems, giving them valuable and actionable insights and enabling them to optimize their mission-critical equipment.

The Quadsat team will be at DALO from 23rd – 24th August. Stop by and see is in the Ballerup Super Arena, Booth 105, or get in touch to book a meeting with the team to see how we can help you: https://www.quadsat.com/dalo23/

Welcoming the SIG Workshop to Denmark

We’re excited to be hosting the next Satcoms Innovation Group (SIG) workshop, here at the QuadSAT headquarters in Odense, Denmark. This is the first time QuadSAT has hosted a SIG workshop; it marks a rather special milestone for us, not least because SIG has been a big part of our journey, right from when we were starting out, to where we are today.

We first became involved with SIG not long after QuadSAT was founded, when SIG was still called the Satellite Interference Reduction Group. In those early days, it provided us with a forum to come and present our ideas, but also uniquely, it enabled us to get useful feedback on what we were doing and what problem we were trying to solve.

Engaging with SIG members allowed us to view the issues around antenna testing and verification from a range of perspectives, from satellite operators through to antenna manufacturers. Working and collaborating with SIG helped us to see the potential use cases that the QuadSAT technology has across a range of sectors.

We’re now an associate member of SIG, and we get a lot of value from our membership and from attending the technical workshops. At the last workshop, we spoke to Micro-Ant about how we first started engaging with SIG, and the value it brings to the industry. You can see the interview in full here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC_sDrVzx0c

Quadsat Drone in flight

Why the industry needs SIG

By stimulating discussions between industry operators, manufacturers and solutions providers, SIG has over the years helped the satcom industry identify effective solutions to some pretty complex challenges. And SIG continues to play an important role in the satcoms industry today. A colossal number of satellites are expected to be launched over the coming years, and we have to be very careful not to deploy systems that are not properly configured, or that have design faults.

Yes, it’s true that the industry has got quite good at mitigating interference over the years, but with the increased activity in LEO, alongside complex LEO, MEO and GEO multi-orbit systems, the likelihood of RF interference is surely going to increase. SIG will no doubt continue to play a critical role in bringing the right people together to identify challenges and come up with solutions.

Join us in Odense 

The SIG workshop will take place at QuadSAT, Odense, Denmark, from 28th June to 29th June. As well as a packed agenda of hot topics, it will be a chance to see our drone-based testing tools in action. To register for the event, visit SIG. We hope to see you there.

The Challenges of Preparing the Ground Segment

Launching a new satellite constellation requires a huge amount of effort to ensure that the ground segment is installed correctly and calibrated prior to launch. With large constellations launching in LEO, this can be a complex and challenging task yet at the same time vital to ensuring smooth operation. How can operators prepare the ground segment accurately without causing significant delays to launches?

LEO: A Unique Ground Segment

As more and more LEO satellites continue to launch, this can only be good for breathing fresh air into the satellite industry. While there will likely always be a place for GEO, LEO will be essential for delivering universal telecommunications services on the move, whether in the air, at sea, or in rural locations. This will of course be vital not only for keeping people connected but also for emergency response. At the same time, it is likely that we will see LEO satellites paving the way for next generation services, from smart cities and driverless cars to delivery drones.

While the value proposition of LEO is well understood, LEO satellites have very unique requirements for ground segment infrastructure that cause a certain amount of complexity. We know, for example, that comms on the move terminals are a large cause of satellite interference, because of the dynamic nature of these systems. Now we are looking at satellites that are themselves dynamic and that could make them more prone to errors and a potential cause of interference.

Operators need to be mitigating this even before launch, which means that ground terminals need to be able to easily make before breaking the connection, or otherwise seamlessly connect and re-connect to these satellites. It also means operators need to know, prior to launch, that these terminals are working as they should be.

Testing Limitations

Testing prior to launching a constellation comes with a number of limitations and challenges. Most accurate testing requires ground antennas to be transported to a test site. While this is highly accurate, it is expensive and time-consuming, and certainly not feasible for the amount of terminals required for large LEO constellations. It also means that you cannot take into account environmental conditions at the ground station itself, which can often impact operation. It is not surprising therefore that most LEO operators are looking for ways to test the  equipment in-situ.

The unique nature of LEO means that one of the most important elements to test is how the antennas are able to handle passes to switch between satellites as they orbit the earth. Generally, this is done using existing LEO / MEO satellites. While this can work well, it has its limitations. Beam pointing is limited to only where that constellation has users or gateways. In the case of new constellations in particular, or new regions, this is often too limiting. This method also means having to wait for the satellite pass to happen to perform the test. This involves a great deal of planning and patience to get the timing right to do this effectively.

Simulating Orbital Passes

When we set out to develop drone-based antenna testing solutions, we knew it would be important to replicate the accuracy of testing facilities wherever the test takes place. We have done this to great effect and have already worked with a number of operators to perform highly accurate tests on site.

Our most recent challenge was to look at a way for our drone system to perform virtual orbital passes and accurately simulate a satellite as seen from the antenna on the ground. By equipping the on-board microcomputer with a way to decode Two-Line Element (TLE) sets, we are able to generate virtual passes from any direction and at any elevation angle. Essentially, the payload on the drone acts as the satellite transponder, transmitting a test signal which the antenna can lock itself onto.  

As well as ensuring accurate testing of those passes, we can enable operators to avoid unforeseen delays that occur when the antenna is unable to acquire the live satellite.

Satellite operators can create an on-demand simulation environment to: 

  • test and verify the antenna pointing offset across its operational range 
  • verify the antenna tracking capability 
  • test real life operational scenarios 

The payload is also able to simulate the Doppler shift, as well as the signal variations due to distance path loss or atmospheric attenuation. We also foresee the ability to programme various other test scenarios, such as simulation of rain fade or launch and acquisition of a new satellite. 

If you want to find out more, you can read the press release, download the technical specification, or get in touch to discuss your requirements.

QuadSAT Emulates LEO/MEO Passes for Highly-Dynamic Testing

Odense, Denmark, 1st June 2023 – 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. This patent-pending technology means that the system can generate virtual passes from any direction and at any elevation angles to perform tracking tests, wherever the antenna is located.
 
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. Thanks to 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.
 
Thanks to utilisation of RTK (Real Time Kinematics) GNSS technology, QuadSAT is able to ensure centimeter positional accuracy for these highly dynamic 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, QuadSAT, commented: “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. Various other test scenarios could also be programmed, such as simulation of rain fade or launch and acquisition of a new satellite.
 
LEO / MEO tracking support is now available within the existing QuadSAT system. QuadSAT will be exhibiting at Space-comm from 7th – 8th June on Stand M3. Book a meeting with the team

QuadSAT Completes Large Antenna Testing Mission with Telespazio

Using the QuadSAT drone-based system, it tested a large 17-metre antenna situated at Fucino Space Center, in Italy.

Odense, Denmark, 25th May 2023, QuadSAT has completed an antenna validation mission with space services operator, Telespazio. Using the QuadSAT drone-based system, it tested a large 17-metre antenna situated at Fucino Space Center, in Italy. Other capabilities of QuadSAT drone-based testing solution, such as ground station tracking performance analysis, were also demonstrated as part of the mission.

QuadSAT worked with Telespazio to perform the radiation pattern measurements of the large, 17 metre, antenna. Due to the size of the antenna, QuadSAT carried out careful planning and a detailed site survey ahead of the mission. The measurements were taken from a nearby mountain peak, at 12 km from the antenna.

The radiation pattern measurements enabled QuadSAT to provide Telespazio with important data about the performance of the antenna, as well as extracting information on the shape and size of the main beam and level and position of sidelobes. This has enabled the operator to ensure the antenna is operating at optimum efficiency.

Telespazio is a global company that provides services that include the design and development of space systems, the management of launch services and in-orbit satellite control, Earth observation services, integrated communications, navigation and tracking satellite and scientific programmes.Emanuele Belloni, Installation, Integration and Test Manager, Telespazio, commented: “We believe that innovation is the true driving force of Telespazio’s business, for this reason we have established a multi-year cooperation with Quadsat. Our 60-years’ experience in space domain, together with the Quadsat system, gave positive results to measure our 17-meters antenna. We were really impressed about this innovative approach that has the potential to dramatically reduce the challenges and costs normally associated with testing.” 

Andrian Buchi, Chief Technical Officer, QuadSAT, added: “Quality assurance and reliability are critically important for satellite communication service providers like Telespazio, and this is achieved through effective and reliable testing of the ground segment. This campaign has demonstrated how our drone-based system can be used as an alternative to existing fixed beacon-based methods for testing large antennas. The mission has also enabled Telespazio to accurately test and verify one of its large antennas in a cost-effective way.”

Get in touch with QuadSAT for more information or to request a demo.

QuadSAT Named as Finalist for Odense Robotics Company of the Year 2023

Ground segment antenna measurement with drone

Odense, Denmark, 29th March 2023 – QuadSAT has been shortlisted as finalist for the Odense RoboticsCompany of the Year award. The award celebrates outstanding achievements in Denmark’s robotics, automation and drone industry. 

Nominations for the award and voting for finalists are made by members of Odense Robotics, and are chosen based on extraordinary growth, special contribution to the cluster and strategic leadership. 

Founded in 2017, QuadSAT’s game-changing technology is dramatically simplifying testing of satellite equipment at every stage of its lifecycle. Using a drone-based system for accurate testing and verification of radio frequency equipment, QuadSAT is helping the industry to ensure efficient and reliable use of satellite networks. The company has already worked with leading satellite companies, including OneWeb, SES, and the European Space Agency.

Joakim Espeland, CEO, QuadSAT, commented: “The satellite industry is challenged with an evolving environment and more demand than ever before for seamless connectivity. Our solution has the potential to help optimise satellite networks and help the industry navigate some of the current and future challenges associated with that. We are grateful for the support we have received over the years from Odense Robotics and honoured to be considered for this award.”

Winners of the Odense Robotics Company of the Year will be announced at the award ceremony at Odense Robotics’ Annual Conference on 11 May, 2023.