ESA’s new custom-built Telecommunications and Navigation Testbed Vehicle is a four wheel-drive test vehicle designed to host a three-person team, crammed with dedicated navigation and telecommunication monitoring equipment for trials in the field. The vehicle has built-in multimedia equipment, including storage and control computers, multimedia gateway, passenger LCD screens, cameras and microphones.
Other vehicle features include two removable roof plates to mount specialised antennas (one currently hosts the antenna of a Broadband Global Area Network satellite terminal for Internet connectivity and multimedia and data streaming), an 8 m-high telescopic mast capable of carrying 25 kg, a rubidium atomic clock synchronised to GPS time with nanosecond accuracy, a high-end spectrum analyser and oscilloscope for signal measurements, and mobile temperature sensors to monitor the rack equipment. A fisheye video camera incorporating onscreen GPS timings and positionings performs continuous recording of its surroundings – to throw light on high buildings, trees or other factors that might affect results. Internal and external generators yield up to 5 kW to keep everything running – sufficient power to supply two typical European households.