Satellite Sends Test Signals in Q and W Band for the First Time

Satellite Sends Test Signals in Q and W Band for the First Time

IeB showcases its analytical viewpoint on transformative technology in the industry news, which aligns with its future growth initiatives. It entails a holistic impact across the organization, its end-users, and peer industry participants. Furthermore, it will also represent the shifting trends across the industry ecosystem.

Strategic Development

In June, the W-Cube nanosatellite started its journey on board a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral to polar orbit. Almost a month later, it was placed in its orbit at 500 kilometers and has successfully transmitted signals to Earth in the Q and W band since August. It gathers essential data for the development of new frequency ranges for future satellite communication systems.

The development of the W-Cube took place during the joint project “ARTES.” Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF designed the transmitter and extremely low-noise receiver modules, its core components.

Strategic Alignment

Accurate and informative measurements of channel transmission between orbit and Earth require highly sensitive and low-noise electronic circuits. Based on its ample expertise in this research area, Fraunhofer IAF has developed RF front ends for both the satellite and ground station as part of the project. The RF components consist of frequency multipliers, drivers, and power amplifiers for the Q and W bands. To link new, powerful satellites to the Internet in the future, the project Advanced Technology CubeSat-based W-band channel measurements, also known as ARTES, in short, is testing unutilized frequencies in the Q(37.5GHz) and W(75GHz) bands. This project is the world’s first low Earth orbit (LEO) mission in this frequency range.

Immediate Impact

Volume requirements for data transmissions are progressively on the rise. New data expressways for digital consumption are being researched worldwide because the standard frequencies are already in short supply today. The nanosatellite launch now marks the beginning of a two-year measurement campaign in which test signals are consistently received and processed on the ground.

Budding Growth Opportunities for End-Users

To use new frequency bands for satellite transmission in the future, measurement campaigns are needed to characterize the specific atmospheric channel propagations.

Potential Advancements for Peer Markets

This initiative will provide various opportunities in this segment and help to drive business transformation.

Shifting Industry Trends

Not every frequency range is useful for all transmissions. That’s why we must take a close look at the effects of weather on frequencies. This satellite is different from future functional satellites that will use the W band in geostationary orbit (GEO). The proximity to Earth allows conclusive time advantages in measurements, and weather conditions hardly change. A statistical model that will enable the planning and designing of future satellite links in this frequency range will be developed based on the measurement data.

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