Clutch Space Systems (CSS) joins SPRINT’s business support program to design, develop and test an experimental prototype digitally controlled antenna system, with SPRINT providing CSS-funded access to expertise from the University of Surrey’s 5G and 6G innovation centers , to provide smarter and more efficient communications for low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites.
The image is provided by SPRINT
Clutch Space Systems is developing a low-cost software-defined ground station that offers telemetry, tracking and S-band tracking (TT&C) of LEO satellites. The implementation of this ground station requires an innovative and simple digitally controlled antenna design, along with advanced software-defined back-ends and a cloud server infrastructure.
The main goal of this SPRINT feasibility project is to accelerate the development and testing of an experimental prototype version of an antenna on the network. This will include the design, development, testing and validation of the antenna in a soundless camera or with an actual satellite connection down from the LEO satellite. The prototype will form the baseline for a production version for deployment as part of a demonstration network in 2022. Facilities at the University of Surrey include 5G and 6G innovation centers, which are pioneers in the next generation of information and communication technologies.
This project with the University of Surrey will be funded by the SPRINT (Space Research and Technology Innovation Network) program worth £ 7 million. SPRINT provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technology.
Martin Philip, CEO and co-founder of Clutch Space Systems, said: “The demand for satellite communications has grown exponentially due to the growing number of satellite launches. However, the antenna systems currently used in the industry are still comparable to the systems used in the Apollo era. After developing our software-defined radio frequency processing circuit, we realized the need for an equally flexible, robust and new antenna system, which is an essential part of our goal to ensure a fundamental change in the way satellites are operated and used in LEO.
“We are strong in terms of space interface, but developing new and new antenna concepts is something we are looking to improve. Given that the 5G and 6G Innovation Centers at the University of Surrey have extensive experience in developing antennas, identifying and driving this leap in technology through strong academic research support funded by SPRINT is key to the project’s success. This will help us accelerate the launch and growth of our market. “
Dr Tim Brown, a senior lecturer in radio frequency antenna and propagation and an academician in radio frequency engineering at the University of Surrey, added: “With the growth of LEO satellites, there is a growing demand for low-cost antenna solutions . This work plays an important role in this world-changing engineering plan. “