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Keysight to provide payload solution for 1st SWISSto12 HummingSat
Fri, 13th Oct 2023

Keysight Technologies has announced that SWISSto12, one of Europe's fastest-growing satellite and radio frequency (RF) payload manufacturers, has selected the Keysight Payload Test System (PTS) to validate the RF payloads of its first HummingSat geostationary satellite, Intelsat 45.

Keysight's RF Payload Test System Platform uses state-of-the-art measurement capability to provide a base configuration for uplink and downlink testing between UHF and Q bands. 

The RF Payload Test System's modular construction maximises flexibility and ease of upgrade. Expansion space is provided in the rack for additional switching, a digital oscilloscope and other equipment.

The HummingSat is a small, innovative telecommunications satellite developed with the European Space Agency through a public-private partnership with customers, including Intelsat and Viasat.

Launching a telecommunications satellite has no room for error. Once in orbit, each of a satellite's complex systems and payloads must function flawlessly. 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 with switchable CalPod Assembly Modules that calibrate the uplink and downlink paths without disconnection. This feature creates a movable software 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 flexible modular construction that is easy to upgrade. The SWISSto12 PTS configuration includes the E8257D PSG Analogue Signal Generator, the M9837A PXIe Vector Network Analyser, and the N9030B PXA Signal Analyser.

“As part of our effort to optimise and industrialise our assembly and test efforts on HummingSat, we are pleased to announce the selection of recognised 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,” notes Greg Patschke, general manager of Keysight’s aerospace, defence and government solutions unit.