The MRA-WG & the European Space Agency (ESA)

The ‘Standards Preparation for Satcom on the Move Terminals’ ESA ARTES (Advanced Research in Telecommunicatons Systems) programme project, a collaboration with Fraunhofer IIS, received ESA aproval in 2017. The foundation to the joint project – developing an appropriate test methodology for qualifying COTM terminals – was the terminal performance and test guidelines set-out in GVF MRA document GVF-105. GVF is now (December 2021) engaged in the second of two further joint projects under the ESA ARTES programme, partnered with GVF member QuadSAT. The project concerns development of a novel approach for conducting on-site antenna verification using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), or drones, which avoids the need to transport antennas under test to an outdoor far-field antenna range. GVF’s terminal type-approvals procedures and the SOMAP requirements (see this page) were previously identified as directly linked with UAS-Antenna Performance Evaluation (UAS-APE) system technology development. GVF’s project support in the form of technical advice is founded in its recognition of the importance and innovative significance of this technology and product development as contributing to the satellite communications industry’s objective of reducing rising levels of RFI and in improving the effectiveness of type-approvals processes. Antenna testing using traditional methods can be expensive and logistically difficult. Drone-based measurement method differs significantly from traditional test-range methods. Satellite antennas can be tested anywhere, easily and effectively, a change recognised by satellite operators as better enabling industry growth and innovation.