The Aldo Paraboni Q/V Communications and Propagation experiment is one of four Technology Demonstration Payloads carried by Alphasat. It explores new frequencies for future telecom applications.
Exploring new frontiers
The frequency bands currently used by telecom satellites are becoming crowded and capacity is scarce. New possibilities are now being explored in the Q/V-band by the Q/V-band payload TDP 5. In parallel, Ka- and Q-band beacon transmitters will also measure how Earth’s atmosphere affects communications in these bands. Developed by Italian companies Thales Alenia Space and Space Engineering, the TDP 5 will collect data that enables expansion into these new frequencies, resulting in more bandwidth availability and less need for large user terminals.
Economy of scale
TDP 5 was named after the Italian scientist Aldo Paraboni, who dedicated his life to researching the higher frequencies. Use of the Q and V-band frequencies for commercial purposes was previously not considered viable, as the links had to be oversized to accommodate the 'fading', or decrease in signal strength, that is caused by Earth's weather. The payload monitors this disruption, and assesses ways of adapting the beam. The data recorded will steer the design of future adaptive techniques and provide the information needed to upgrade from Ka- to the more effective, wider and ultimately more cost-effective Q/V bands.