The objective of the project is the development of a miniature satellite communications user terminal platform known as ‘PocketSAT’. This platform is aimed at L-band mobile satcom services, including hand-held, land-mobile and maritime. The technologies and components developed for PocketSAT are also intended for wider commercialisation as potential building-blocks for a variety of mobile satcom terminal products.
Phase 1 of the project (completed 2004) saw the development of a proof-of-concept hardware/software platform, including an L-band RF module developed by partner company Giastar Ltd.
Phase 2 (completed 2006) built on the achievements of Phase 1 and produced a fully-integrated L-band terminal, including powerful DSP-based baseband processor board with embedded physical layer and protocol stack software, and a high-efficiency L-band omni-directional antenna. The focus was on components suitable to construct an omni-class terminal for Inmarsat’s BGAN service.
Phase 3 (due to complete in 2009) is extending the PocketSAT developments in another direction that will allow the partners to pursue an additional commercialisation opportunity: private packet-data networks operating over leased satellite capacity. A second-generation L-band RF module is being developed by partner IICT. An intermediate-gain tracking antenna is being developed by partner JAST to provide a higher-gain alternative to the omni antenna developed under Phase 2.
Working with Skymira LLC, US-based commercial partner, ComSine is developing a bespoke all-IP packet-based air-interface that will allow thousands of users to efficiently share common forward and return satellite channels.
ComSine is also developing new physical layer and protocol stack software compliant with this air-interface to run on the PocketSAT hardware platform. The Phase 3 activities will culminate with a series of field-trials conducted over L-band capacity on a North American MSAT satellite. MSAT air-time has generously been offered free by SkyTerra for the trials.