In keeping with efforts to bring down the costs associated with satellite terminals, particularly those of DVB-RCS systems, ESA has issued an Invitation To Tender (ITT) for a Motorised Antenna Mount for bi-directional Satellite Terminals. This ITT will encourage the future spread of DVB-RCS systems to both the general public and the professional community.
Current installation prices for a bi-directional satellite terminal in Western Europe are between 350 and 750 euros. This forms a significant portion of the total price of between 800 and 1500 euros for a terminal. A project COSYSIT (see related links), supported by ESA, has already determined that by optimising various aspects of the installation procedure, the installation price can be reduced to between 200 and 300 euros, and although a substantial reduction, this is a price that is still high for the average consumer.
ESA believes that the cost of installing DVB-RCS terminals can be further lowered by allowing consumers themselves to install them. Already today, many consumers are themselves able to install Direct To Home (DTH) or receive only TV antennas. By allowing them to install their own DVB-RCS terminals and thus eliminating the installer a price reduction in DVB-RCS terminals will come about. This will, of course, require simplifying the installation of DVB-RCS antennas.
A motorised antenna mount can achieve this simplification, even to the point of making the installation of DVB-RCS antennas simpler than current DTH antennas. Consumers will only need to purchase the equipment at an electronic shop and install it at home themselves, avoiding an expensive network of installers.
The ITT announced by ESA will require the design, manufacture, testing and demonstration of a prototype of a motorised mount. This mount must be capable of accommodating a dish of up to 0.8m and accurate enough for bi-directional communication in Ka and Ku band. Cost is significant concern for ESA as the motorised mount must be of a lower price than is currently being offered by installers. The activity should take a total of 18 months to complete and the ITT will be open until 31 August 2006.
Although the exact appearance and workings of the motorised mount will be determined as part of this activity, a conceptual figure of how the motorised mount could look like as a future product is shown at right. ESA has provided a Statement of Work to assist companies in understanding the requirements.
To download a copy of the Statement of Work for the ESA issued ITT for "Motorised Antenna Mount for bi-directional Satellite Terminals" please click on EMITS, under external links at the right of this page.
To read more about COSYSIT, the study which preceded this ITT click under related links at the right of this page. The findings of this study have been summarised in an ESA paper titled Low Cost Installation of DVB-RCS Terminals and can be downloaded by clicking under documentation at the right of this page.
All images ESA