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New resilient radio for satellite communication in development

The new iLAuNCH Trailblazer project brings together The Australian National University and Inovor to develop resilient radio links to ground stations and for inter-satellite communication.

The project will develop and qualify a satellite-based Software Defined Radio for an on-orbit demonstration of capability. 

The iLAuNCH Trailblazer project originates from the reality that signals between ground stations and satellites may be weakened due to interference, originating from both human-made sources and natural phenomena.

To make satellite communication more resilient, Inovor Technologies and The Australian National University (ANU) are co-developing a new software-defined radio (SDR) solution that is set to be onboard of Inovor’s satellites.

“This project under the iLAuNCH partnership will see ANU and Inovor build a satellite-based Software Defined Radio (SDR) and a subsequent launch into space to demonstrate critical space-flight heritage, paving the way for exports,” said iLAuNCH Trailblazer executive director, Darin Lovett.

The SDR will implement basic communication strategies and facilitate high data rate transfers to advance satellite communications.

“We are employing a postdoc fellow who will extend our R&D beyond simulation technologies for ground testing.

We will also enhance the system’s ability to maintain resilient radio links, regardless of the interference encountered,” said ANU Lead of Information and Signal Processing Cluster, Associate Professor Nan Yang.

Inovor CEO and founder, Matthew Tetlow said with a strong emphasis on local manufacturing the company ensures all critical components are crafted in its facilities to “establish a sovereign edge.”

“These SDRs are being designed to resist the extreme temperatures and radiation levels of space and will be able to position satellites more accurately post-launch and feed control information to the onboard manoeuvring system,” said Tetlow.

Both satellites and ground stations are completely dependent on radio systems, so the SDR is a crucial component in the satellite industry. 

To enable Inovor to develop a high data rate radio sub-system, ANU will conduct research and provide simulation models to guide design choices and validate the design at various stages.

In parallel, Inovor will develop the prototype hardware and software to support the activities, using the simulation models provided by ANU to qualify the design at critical points. 

This prototype hardware and software would include the SDR module that is capable of a space-to-ground link and inter-satellite links. 

Finally, the SDR module will be integrated into the Inovor Apogee Bus for an on-orbit demonstration of all capabilities.

 

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