Comprehensive testing ensures performance of HummingSat payload  - The EE

Comprehensive testing ensures performance of HummingSat payload 

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Keysight Technologies announced that SWISSto12 has selected the Keysight Payload Test System (PTS) to validate the radio frequency (RF) payloads of its first HummingSat geostationary satellite, Intelsat 45. The HummingSat is a small telecommunications satellite developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency through a public-private-partnership and customers including Intelsat and Viasat. 

Once in orbit, each of a satellite’s complex systems and payloads must function. This means that satellite manufacturers must thoroughly test each part of a satellite during production and assembly to validate the spacecraft´s payload performance before it leaves the launch pad.

Scheduled for launch in 2026, Intelsat 45 will deliver broadcast services for media companies and broadband connectivity for telecom providers through a Ku-band transceiver. The Keysight PTS provides SWISSto12 with a complete integrated set of instrumentation, signal conditioning, and measurement calibration hardware and control software to extensively and robustly test the HummingSat RF payload.

The PTS connects to the HummingSat payload with a modular switch matrix platform that includes switchable CalPod Assembly Modules that provide calibration of the uplink and downlink paths without disconnection. This feature creates a software movable calibration plane that simplifies the production flow by eliminating interruptions that usually accompany periodic calibrations. In addition, the Keysight CodeOne software suite interfaces with the SWISSto12 system controllers to provide automated, accurate and repeatable measurements for all payload test cycles.

The Keysight PTS uses high-quality test instruments and features a modular construction that is flexible and easy to upgrade. The SWISSto12 PTS configuration includes the E8257D PSG Analog Signal Generator, the M9837A PXIe Vector Network Analyzer and the N9030B PXA Signal Analyzer.

“As part of our effort to optimize and industrialize our assembly and test efforts on HummingSat, we are pleased to announce the selection of recognized testing leader Keysight Technologies and their Payload Test System to validate that our small GEO payload meets all performance parameters essential for a successful mission,” says Emile de Rijk, chief executive officer and founder, SWISSto12.

“The complexity of satellites, with their nature as a ‘system of systems,’ makes testing and evaluation a critical aspect of ensuring mission success. Thanks to the Keysight Payload Testing System, SWISSto12 can ensure that the RF payload of the HummingSats they place into geostationary orbit will function as expected for the duration of their missions,” says Greg Patschke, general manager of Keysight’s aerospace/defense and government solutions unit.

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