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Helical antenna deployed for satellite IoT network

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

 The first helical antenna system from Oxford Space Systems (OSS) has been deployed in low earth orbit (LEO) for an IoT satellite.

The antenna is used in a CubeSat developed by Nanoavionics for a constellation to link the Internet of Things (IoT) run by UK-based Lacuna Space.

Lacuna Space, also based near Oxford, UK, is building a constellation of IoT gateways in LEO that enable ground-based sensors to connect to the internet from remote areas using an open source low power wide area network (LPWAN) protocol. The OSS deployable helical technology allows the antenna to be stowed efficiently for launch and provide optimised RF performance from an orbit of 500km.

The successful deployment of the OSS helical antenna was confirmed when signals were received by ground stations as expected, finalising the commissioning phase of the satellite. Lacuna is using a second OSS helical antenna on a PSLV rocket launched from India. The satellite is currently undergoing the same sequence of in-orbit tests.

“This represents a key milestone for OSS as it continues to execute the strategy to be the leading global deployable antenna company for Space. Not only is this our first successful deployment of an antenna, but our second successful hardware deployment this year and our fourth in total. We continue to develop and deliver our range of antenna products which give leading performance capabilities with low launch mass and small stowage volumes,” said Sean Sutcliffe, CEO of OSS.

“Through a combination of well proven mechanical principles, thorough material characterisation and innovative design, the OSS team have developed a cost-effective and highly scalable antenna which can be customised to operate over a wide frequency range. We are proud to contribute to Lacuna Space’s ambition to build an IoT Gateway and we look forward to working together toward a full satellite constellation,” said Juan Reveles, CTO.

CEO, this satellite will greatly boost the Lacuna network capacity and extend customer trials to additional market segments. Examples for applications include predictive maintenance and tracking of heavy machinery in remote areas. Automating the dispatch of replacement parts, scheduling resources where needed and minimising down time.

“It is great to announce another successfully commissioned satellite on our path to the full constellation. Our plans have been somewhat delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic but despite the challenging times, we were able to proceed and this latest mission entered the network in under 10 months from Lacuna Space placing the satellite order. Now, as the launch back-log is flowing again, we are expecting several additions to the demonstration network in the near future,” said Rob Spurrett, CEo of Lacuna Space.

www.oxford.space

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