London-based TechApp Consultants (TAC), a specialist in bespoke antenna solutions, has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme. TAC will develop a new range of low-cost and high-performance beam-tracking antennas for non-geostationary (NGSO) satellites, in collaboration with SPRINT partner, the University of Surrey.
A number of NGSO satellite constellations are being launched or planned to launch in coming years and all require beam-tracking antennas for ground terminals. One key element in TAC’s innovative beam-tracking antennas is the torus type reflector that offers a consistent wide-angle scanning beam along the satellite flightpath. The University of Surrey will provide TAC with antenna expertise, testing and measurement facilities to enable the development of new technologies, correcting phase-error and improving the torus reflector efficiency.
The project will be funded by a grant from the £4.8 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.
Tao Huang, CEO of TechApp Consultants said: “Even with a great effort and massive investment, the performance and cost of beam tracking antennas, either mechanically or electronically, are still presenting major issues. However, by optimising the efficiency of our torus reflectors, we can deliver a range of low-cost and high-performance beam-tracking antennas that the ‘new space’ industry is calling for, particularly in the large NGSO satellite constellations that provide broadband internet and IoT services.
“We’re delighted to be working with the University of Surrey on this SPRINT project. They will bring antenna design expertise and academic rigour to the project, and share our desire to explore innovative resolutions to best serve this fast-growing industry.”
Mohsen Khalily, Lecturer in Antenna and Propagation at the University of Surrey added: “The University’s main input to the SPRINT project is our scientific expertise on antenna theory and design, as well as measurement capability. This complements TechApp’s capability for prototyping and the company’s knowledge of industry requirements. We will also help TechApp to measure the final proposed prototype using our anechoic chamber facilities.”