Printech Circuit Laboratories
Preparing for Launch – Testing the UHF Antenna with Printech Circuit Laboratories and FOSSA Systems.
Route to Impact
80% of the world’s surface has no connectivity. Millions of IoT devices need to be deployed in industrial applications throughout these remote regions for low-data rate monitorisation and control. Alongside this, the expansion of IoT satellites into LEO means that we’re better placed to receive signal in remote areas on Earth.
Working on this solution from Space to Earth and providing pieces of the connectivity puzzle are Printech Circuit Laboratories and FOSSA Systems. FOSSA required a specific antenna for their IoT spacecraft to be used for data transmission to and from ground control and Printech provided them with a UHF (Ultra High Frequency) antenna specifically designed for the spacecraft.
Printech have been manufacturing specialist circuitry and associated products for over 40 years, serving multiple different sectors. Out of this heritage, they have made multiple flight-proven antennas for a variety of different payloads.
FOSSA is a provider of IoT connectivity and has worked with Printech for the design, manufacturing and testing of their bespoke UHF antenna to be launched into LEO.
“Satellite Applications Catapult provided a thorough and comprehensive suite of testing which gave repeatable positive results on our antennas. During the testing process, their Antenna and RF testing expert, Evangelos Mellios, was very helpful to us with any of the queries or testing requirements we had.”
Printech’s UHF antenna was designed and manufactured in-house to FOSSA’s specification based on power output, frequency band and limited dimensions for a UHF antenna.
As part of the service Printech provides, their antenna required testing to see how it would perform. The Satellite Applications Catapult provided testing services in the Near Field Test Range which is a purpose built 4m x 4m x 4m anechoic chamber and can simulate an antenna’s performance in an interference free environment.
The tests conducted in the facility generated Printech with the data they needed to inform FOSSA how well the UHF antenna will transmit and receive signals when in orbit, securing reliability in the antenna’s performance as well as the quality of the antenna’s specification and build.
The positive testing result enabled FOSSA in the next stages of their spacecraft assembly where the UHF antenna was integrated onto their IoT spacecraft. It was then loaded onto SpaceX’s Transporter 10 for a projected launch in March 2024.
Reducing the connectivity gap is an important endeavour that FOSSA Systems and Printech are working towards to bring large areas of limited connectivity on Earth out of 0G and moving forward to 5G and beyond. Therefore, enabling better communication links globally.
FOSSA has already launch 18 IoT satellites into LEO and is expanding a network of LoRa IoT “cell-phone towers” in Space to reduce the connectivity gap to industrial applications together with partners such as Printech.
The Satellite Applications Catapult continues to support companies working to improve global connectivity with unique testing facilities across the UK.