Inovor and ANU together for resilient radio for satellite communication: iLAuNCH

Inovor and the Australian National University announced a partnership to develop resilient radio links to ground stations and for inter-satellite communication through the novel iLAuNCH Trailblazer project, which project will develop and qualify a satellite-based Software Defined Radio for an on-orbit capability demonstration.

Satellites rely on radio systems to generate, transmit, receive and process signals. Satellites are akin to computers in the sky, and radio communication serves as their primary means of interaction with us on the ground. Naturally, when communicating with any type of computer, more data is advantageous, and satellites are no exception.

Traditionally, this has been achieved using Radio Frequency (RF) technology due to its ability to travel long distances. However, these signals may be weakened due to interference from human-made sources and natural phenomena.

To make SATCOMM more resilient, Inovor Technologies and The Australian National University (ANU) are co-developing a new software-defined radio (SDR) solution that is set to be onboard all of Inovor’s locally manufactured satellites.

Darin Lovett ED iLAuNCH and Dr Matthew Tetlow CEO Inovor
Pictured top L-R: Darin Lovett iLAuNCH and Dr Matthew Tetlow CEO Inovor. Credits: @Inovor
“Inovor is a pioneering Australian space company. I’ve worked with them for five years now and witnessed their drive to build sovereign capabilities for the space industry, from star trackers and reaction wheels to entire small satellite buses,” 

said iLAuNCH Trailblazer Executive Director, Darin Lovett.

“This project under the iLAuNCH partnership will see ANU and Inovor build a satellite-based Software Defined Radio (SDR) and a subsequent launch into space to demonstrate critical space-flight heritage, paving the way for exports.”

The SDR will implement basic communication strategies and facilitate high data rate transfers to advance satellite communications.

“We are employing a postdoc fellow who will extend our R&D beyond simulation technologies for ground testing. We will also enhance the system’s ability to maintain resilient radio links, regardless of the interference encountered,”

said ANU Lead of Information and Signal Processing Cluster, Associate Professor Nan Yang.

Associate Professor Nan Yang with technology
Pictured: The Australian National University’s Associate Professor Nan Yang with technology. Credits: @Inovor

With a strong emphasis on local manufacturing, Inovor Technologies controls the manufacturing process to ensure the quality, security, and timely delivery of their satellites.

“These SDRs are being designed to resist the extreme temperatures and radiation levels of space and will be able to position satellites more accurately post launch and feed control information to the onboard maneuvering system,”

said Inovor CEO and Founder, Matthew Tetlow.

“All these critical components, will be crafted within our facilities, to establish a sovereign edge, reinforcing our ability to maximise mission assurance.”

Both satellites and ground stations completely depend on radio systems, so the SDR is a crucial component in the satellite industry.

To enable Inovor to develop a high data rate radio sub-system, ANU will conduct research and provide simulation models to guide design choices and validate the design at various stages. In parallel, Inovor will develop the prototype hardware and software to support the activities, using the simulation models provided by ANU to qualify the design at critical points. This prototype hardware and software would include the SDR module, capable of space-to-ground and inter-satellite links. Finally, the SDR module will be integrated into the Inovor Apogee Bus for an on-orbit demonstration of all capabilities.

About iLAuNCH

The Australian Government Trailblazer Universities Program provides dedicated investment to accelerate Australia’s innovation agenda at speed and scale.

The Innovative Launch, Automation, Novel Materials, Communications and Hypersonics (iLAuNCH) Trailblazer is a $180 million program building Australia’s enduring space capability through the commercialisation of projects, a fast-track accelerator, and skills development to build the workforce of the future.

About ANU

The Australian National University is dedicated to provide our nation with research capacity amongst the best in the world, and education in areas vital for our future. It is committed to address the most complex of tomorrow’s problems.

About Inovor

Inovor is a 100% owned and operated Australian commercial satellite manufacturer, and we contribute to Australia’s national security program through the provision of electronic warfare expertise and our inhouse satellite production capabilities to defence.

The company’s focus on innovation and technological advancement is a key differentiator. Inovor invests heavily in research and development, enabling us to create cutting-edge solutions that address complex defence challenges. In-house developed spacecraft capability with mechanical, electronics and software allow the possibility for complete system observability to maximise mission assurance.