Airborne Q V SatCom
Problem to solve and initial situation
There are still few activities only to bring forward airborne Q- / V-band SatCom technology towards a viable solution, in spite of demand and technological advantages (high bandwidth, small antennas) given, and in spite of principle answers to challenges being known.
Presently JOANNEUM RESEARCH's Space and Communication Technology Group (JR-WKT, abbreviation of German 'Weltraumtechnik und Kommunikationstechnologien') sees a special chance for an airborne Q- / V-band SatCom experiment.
This chance is based on the availability of a relevant payload (TDP#5) on Alphasat and on the wide relevant experience of JR-WKT. Whereas many preconditions thus are given, for some others still detailed investigations are necessary to clarify feasibility. This especially refers to an airborne antenna and airworthy RF equipment for the aircraft to be used, also to suitable configuration of the Alphasat TDP#5 payload.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has informally indicated their interest in such experiment already one year back, but up to here no initiative is known. Now this exploratory project shall initiate the activity, subsequent either in cooperation with ESA then or using some other potential funding source.
Planned Goals and Approaches
The planned goal of this exploratory project is to investigate the open questions regarding an airborne Q- / V-band SatCom experiment, to provide a positive feasibility assessment (which presently is assumed but not guaranteed) and to generate a detailed concept and proposal for a subsequent relevant activity (not a flagship project in terms of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency – FFG).
Approach is to clarify requirements and availabilities in direct contact with manufacturers and providers in a first task. In a second task the possible configurations of found components / services shall be investigated. The third task is dedicated to writing a detailed concept for such experiment, embedded in a proposal for a subsequent activity, providing the required scientific results.
Expected Results and Findings
The authors of this proposal rate it with a high probability that such airborne Q- / V-band experiment is feasible and that a convincing concept and convincing proposal for subsequent activity will be obtained. This includes that relevant hardware components will be found in the market or will be offered as prototype equipment for reasonable price.
Feasibility of implementation into an aircraft for experiments will be assessed, as well as that the Alphasat TDP#5 payload will be configured suitably. It is moreover expected, that such concept initiates further activities - preferably by ESA – for execution of the proposed subsequent activity. JR-WKT will then have best chances to act in a prominent role, strengthening their position in the relevant scene and for later expected commercial activities.
Under a number of ESA Contracts in Graz / Austria a considerable investment into Q- / V-band experimental equipment has been done. This exploratory project will finally help for a better exploitation of these investments, adding another application and business field.