QuadSat drones test satellite antennas

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SAN FRANCISCO – QuadSat, a Danish company focused on testing and calibrating satellite antennas with quadcopters drones, plans to recruit satellite engineers with 700,000 euros ($796,000) raised in a seed investment round announced Jan. 16 led by a Danish investment fund and with support from Seraphim Capital.

“We intend to expand our technical expertise,” Joakim Espeland, QuadSat co-founder and chief executive, said by email. “We will also expand our recently established UK office.”

Founded in 2017 in Horsens, Denmark, QuadSat opened an office at the Harwell Space Cluster, after participating last year in Seraphim Space Camp, a nine-week accelerator program for space technology startups.

Satellite communications antennas undergo extensive testing in factories, dedicated test facilities and in the field to prove they can establish and maintain communications without interfering with adjacent satellites. Often, ships and aircraft are taken out of service during these tests.

“That is not always practical,” Espeland said. “In the case of large cruise liners, this is generally done en route, which involves a satellite engineer having to be onboard for a stage of the normal journey. This costs a considerable amount both in terms of housing the engineer and paying for time onboard.”

QuadSat plans to offer ship and aircraft operators an alternative: testing and calibrating antennas on-site with drones, which is “much more cost-effective and less time-consuming than current methods,” Espeland said.

Satellite interference is on the rise, a problem Espeland correlates with the widespread adoption of communications on the move.

“If these systems are not tested properly, it can lead to interference, which causes not only problems for the users themselves but also for the entire space environment,” Espeland said. “Our system will help prevent interference.”

In the next year, QuadSat plans to gain expertise and conduct customer trials as it focuses on another challenge: helping manufacturers win initial approval for satellite antennas, Espeland said.