Satellite communication has been expanding for several years now. For a long time it was seen as a "gap filling technology" for telecommunications in geographical areas or for technical domains which could not be covered by terrestrial communications. Now, however, it is seen as an indispensable complementary technology to terrestrial communications as part of the global networking of stationary and mobile terminals. The need for innovative and powerful satellite communications terminals for stationary as well as nomadic and mobile applications is correspondingly large and sustained.
The objective of the joint project SANTANA-AERO (Smart Antenna Terminal for Aeronautical Applications) is the application-specific development of satellite communications antenna technologies for aeronautical applications. The core elements here are efficient antenna arrays using multilayer technology and the implementation of electronic beamforming. Phase 1 of the project is concerned with the development of the concept and with technical and regulatory preparation for future flight experiments. The result is evidence of the technical feasibility of the demonstrator and a drafting of the test scenario for the flight experiments planned for phase 2. Led by the company IMST, the partners are investigating the impacts that current developments in satellite communications could have for aeronautical satcom. Taking these results into account, a satellite communications system can then be defined. The conditions thus identified serve as the basis for the antennae, receivers and transmitters to be developed.
The DLR Institute for Flight Guidance supports the development of antennae and hardware within SANTANA by specifying the technical and flight approval relevant requirements for incorporation into the DLR research aircraft D-CODE. This includes approval of the design of the research system, primarily with regard to the integration of the antennae. It is drawing up the user requirements and scenarios for the use of satellite communications for the remote guidance of RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) including communications requirements. For the test flights planned for phase 2 of the project, the Institute will develop the possible scenarios in collaboration with the Flight Experiments facility. In addition, the Institute is responsible for simulating the usage scenario with real mission requirements and flight profiles based on real flight systems (proof of concept).
TU Hamburg-Harburg , Institute of High Frequency Technology
DLR Institute of Flight Guidance
Airbus DS GmbH
LSE Space GmbH