Session

Technical Session XII: Communications

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

Lynk (formerly UbiquitiLink) is building a network of small satellites to provide affordable cellular coverage to unmodified cellular devices, enabling messaging, data, IoT, and emergency communications everywhere on the planet. This paper will discuss the details of the approach for Lynk's technology development program to-date. Since December 2018, test spacecraft Lynk 01, Lynk 02, Lynk 03, and Lynk 04 have all been launched to orbit and tested.

Lynk flies new space hardware every ~6 months to incrementally space qualify our LEO-to-phone space technologies. Each 6-month cycle includes the design, fabrication, assembly, and test of a new spacecraft iteration before handover for launch. During initial technology development, Lynk has leveraged the ISS and NASA's cargo resupply (CRS) missions; these missions offer frequent and affordable access to orbit in support of Lynk’s rapid prototyping and agile development timelines.

These spacecraft have enabled Lynk to conduct the world’s first orbiting cell tower demonstrations for a space-based cellular network. In a very short period, the test program has already successfully demonstrated critical functionalities needed for satellite-to-phone messaging initially using GSM technology; LTE is next. Tests have demonstrated connectivity from a satellite to unmodified cellular devices using frequencies already in use by common cellular phones. The discussion of technical achievements will include: link budget verification and payload validation; software development to project and coordinate test site overpasses; transmission from satellite over specific test sites; and demonstration of a "cellular network in a box" creating a private network cell within a beam focused on the Earth. A review of the challenges experienced, the implications for the testing program, and the solutions implemented will be included.

Share

COinS
 
Aug 1st, 12:00 AM

Results from Rapid Testing of Space-based Mobile Network Technology

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Lynk (formerly UbiquitiLink) is building a network of small satellites to provide affordable cellular coverage to unmodified cellular devices, enabling messaging, data, IoT, and emergency communications everywhere on the planet. This paper will discuss the details of the approach for Lynk's technology development program to-date. Since December 2018, test spacecraft Lynk 01, Lynk 02, Lynk 03, and Lynk 04 have all been launched to orbit and tested.

Lynk flies new space hardware every ~6 months to incrementally space qualify our LEO-to-phone space technologies. Each 6-month cycle includes the design, fabrication, assembly, and test of a new spacecraft iteration before handover for launch. During initial technology development, Lynk has leveraged the ISS and NASA's cargo resupply (CRS) missions; these missions offer frequent and affordable access to orbit in support of Lynk’s rapid prototyping and agile development timelines.

These spacecraft have enabled Lynk to conduct the world’s first orbiting cell tower demonstrations for a space-based cellular network. In a very short period, the test program has already successfully demonstrated critical functionalities needed for satellite-to-phone messaging initially using GSM technology; LTE is next. Tests have demonstrated connectivity from a satellite to unmodified cellular devices using frequencies already in use by common cellular phones. The discussion of technical achievements will include: link budget verification and payload validation; software development to project and coordinate test site overpasses; transmission from satellite over specific test sites; and demonstration of a "cellular network in a box" creating a private network cell within a beam focused on the Earth. A review of the challenges experienced, the implications for the testing program, and the solutions implemented will be included.