Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - DORADA (Radio technologies for broadband mm-wave satellite communication systems)

DORADA aims to underpin a strategic partnership between leading European industrial and academic Research Technology Development units that will enable addressing key technological challenges relating to the delivery of satellite communication services during the coming decades. An on-going and forecasted explosive growth of broadcast and broadband multimedia satellite communication services is putting extreme pressure to increase throughput. To meet the ever increasing demand, future systems must exploit higher carrier frequencies and reconfigurable radio techniques. These systems are particularly demanding on the performance of RF frontends, which are increasingly required to combine agility and adaptability with superior performance at ever higher frequencies, setting an extremely challenging landscape for the existing RF technology base while offering major prospects for high-end technology supply in both home and global markets. DORADA has the aim of fostering a strategic intersectorial alliance capable to deliver the technological leadership and innovation in future mm-wave satcom developments that will underpin new services to the consumer and strengthen the position of the EU space industry globally. Bringing together Space Engineering - a European pioneer in satcom RTD – with world leading expertise in the areas of microwave and antenna engineering for space available at Heriot-Watt University, DORADA nurtures an environment suitable to deliver transformative research exploiting complementarities and knowledge transfer.
DORADA assembles complementary expertise on system and hardware level satcom technology with world-class capability on manufacturing, microwaves and antennas. It promotes to deliver transformative investigations, development and demonstrations of innovative architectures, circuit design and technological solutions that relate to the front-end implementation of high-performance cost-efficient adaptive mm-wave satcom VSAT/mVSAT. Significantly, in order to achieve its objectives DORADA exploits Europe's first and the World's latest civil mm-wave experimental payload, the Technology Demonstration Payload 5 (TDP#5) on board the ALPHASAT satellite for on-the-air technology verification.
Highlights from work performed under DORADA so far include
➢ The design, realisation and establishment of a ground terminal receiving the signal from the TDP#5 payload on board ALPHASAT in Edinburgh. To the best of our knowledge this represents the most northern terminal associated with this campaign, which therefore sees the satellite at the lowest elevation angle
➢ The ongoing development of theoretical and experimental frameworks for performance evaluation of satellite links. Our modelling tools provide accurate Quality of Service evaluation that, critically, delivers fast convergence even for low Bit Error Rates. Significantly we are in parallel developing an experimental testbed to validate the accuracy of the theoretical tools.
➢ The development of technological solutions to address key bottlenecks relating to mm-wave satellite terminals. These include innovative low profile tracking antenna panels, novel compact power combiner schemes as well as high performing tunable RF filters for reconfigurable terminals.
The technical output of DORADA is disseminated in a breadth of high impact academic publications. We further note that DORADA has been pro-active in promoting skill development as evidenced by; a) by the allocation of 3 PhD studentships (including one on an industrial DORADA fellow) on topics related to aforementioned work plan; b) a very active outreach campaign that includes several demos suitable for the general audience; c) a set of inter-sectorial secondments with evidenced career progression for all benefiting fellows. The timeliness and quality of the work undertaken within DORADA is evidenced by the significant additional funding that has been leveraged until now to complement R&D activities of the programme.
The expected final outcome of DORADA will deliver a breadth of solutions to accelerate Satellite On The Move. DORADA’s terminal will contribute to the characterisation of the emerging Q/V-band, which in turn will enable the deployment of new gateways (and in the future user terminals) thereby overcoming the severe spectrum congestion. DORADA’s framework for performance evaluation will provide pertinent means as much in the design of future space and ground segment infrastructure but, critically, also in the deployment of adaptive satellite links. The new technological solutions in terms of antenna and RF hardware will provide routes to reduce volume, size and cost of the ground segment terminal. Collectively aforementioned outcomes will underpin the satellite communications, which in turn will enable a whole new set of applications such as ubiquitous broadband connectivity on airplanes and trains, cost efficient rapidly deployed broadband at remote locations as well as the establishment of new satellite systems based on GEO platform relays. Together DORADA will have grown a set of highly qualified engineers with a skillset suitable to underpin aforementioned developments.
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United Kingdom


Life Sciences
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