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(Originally published in SatMagazine December 2023)

Calian’s Advanced Technologies space division’s focus on delivery performance in the past year included innovation and finding new ways to enhance product solutions to meet customer needs. With highly integrated engineering and manufacturing capabilities, Calian’s Advanced Technologies continues to offer a full spectrum of solutions to its global satellite customers.

Communication Ground Systems and Services 

Calian has communication ground systems engineering capabilities that span the integration of RF communication systems, antenna and tracking systems, capacity and payload management tools, modems, network and carrier monitor and control systems on premises and in the cloud. This broad range of skills enables Calian to provide a complete ground solution to help customers meet their network deployment requirements. 

 In 2023, Calian completed multiple Earth station installations in Europe, North America and Oceania. Customers who need high-capacity Ka-band and Q/V-band networks turn to Calian for the skills and experience to face the challenges of delivering high complexity, high availability systems.

 In 2022, Advanced Technologies introduced its four-metre Q/V band LEO tracking antenna system. The antenna was tested with a Q/V LEO satellite payload in early 2023, making it one of the only Q/V-band LEO tracking antennas to be tested on a live payload.  

This year, the SatService, a Calian company team, based in Germany, continued to offer a broad range of services and turn-key solutions for satellite-based communication technologies. In addition to the pure system integration business including retrofitting existing antenna systems for customers with improved motion control systems and software solutions, SatService continued to develop its own product development capability. The SatService sat-nms product line provides first-class equipment from antenna control and tracking solutions, monitoring and control systems up to L-band transmission equipment.

The Calian InterTronic team, based in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec continued to develop and manufacture advanced, limited- and full-motion LEO, MEO and GEO antenna systems for defence and civil space applications. Calian InterTronic offers a wide variety of pedestal, reflector and feed options designed to meet their customers’ demanding requirements, and recently completed the factory acceptance testing on its third 12m high-performance NASA VLBI antenna to be installed at the Fortaleza Geodetic Observatory in Brazil. 

In 2023, Calian introduced a new product called Mon-A-Co Central, which allows customers to manage all their network elements from one central location. Numerous assets from low-level equipment and devices to back-end, management and monitoring systems can be managed through Mon-A-Co Central. When combined with the Calian Mon-A-Co Edge monitor and control system, the list of assets that can be managed out-of-the-box reaches into the thousands. This high-performance package can also be deployed in various public and private cloud networks. 

Software-Defined Solutions 

Calian’s Advanced Technologies Software-Defined Solutions division excels in providing cutting-edge systems for satellite communications, resource management and orchestration. In the past year, the company has been deploying state-of-the-art satellite gateways and real-time resource management solutions around the world.    

With highly flexible payloads, today's next-generation communication satellites demand advanced resource planning and orchestration to unlock their full potential and profitability. Calian has been leading the way with innovative satellite resource management and capacity planning software solutions, which enable satellite operators to efficiently navigate the potential of advanced space and ground segments.

 As ground segment virtualization gains momentum, Calian’s software-defined solutions division supports custom waveforms, applications and networks for ground stations. By leveraging digital IF, software-defined modems, and extensive experience in satellite communications, Calian team members collaborated closely with clients to develop communication gateways tailored precisely to their unique requirements. With robust software engineering capabilities, the Calian team possessed the agility and expertise required to address the most intricate demands of clients and the broader satellite industry. 

Satellite Communication Products 

Over the last year, the line of satellite communication products from Calian Advanced Technologies provided customers with a series of innovative and high-performance components used in both the systems Calian delivers and the integrators seeking best in breed technologies.

Calian is introducing a new product line of wide-band RF over IP devices based on the popular DIFI standard. As a member of the DIFI consortium, Calian participated in a PlugFest in Colorado Springs to demonstrate the interoperability of its product with other DIFI-compliant devices. RF over IP is a key enabling technology for the digitization and virtualization of satellite ground systems and Calian continues to be at the forefront of this leading-edge technology. 

The Decimator D4 Spectrum and Signal Analyzer is popular for standalone monitoring in teleports and gateways, and as a quality measurement device integrated in satellite carrier monitoring systems from Calian and other vendors. The Decimator D4 includes extensive RF analysis capabilities, plus advanced features for digital signal analysis. The Spectator and Detector software add-ons provide a graphical view into carriers monitored by the Decimator, identifying any issues before they manifest as a failure. Additional interference analysis features, like carrier-under-carrier, will be available at the start of 2024. 

The company has a variety of carrier monitoring options that provide cost-effective solutions to serve customers’ needs, and these solutions are field proven to be reliable and comprehensive for satellite ground systems. Coupled with innovative uplink power control capability and Mon-A-Co monitor and control systems, the Calian carrier monitoring system is an essential tool for always-on Ka-band and higher frequency Q/V-band gateways and TT&C systems.   

Calian in-orbit test (IOT) systems have become the de-facto standard for satellite operators and manufacturers to test communication satellite payloads after launch and during the lifetime of the satellite. Calian deployed multiple state-of-the-art IOT systems to several continents. Included with our measurement system are our skilled team to assist with verification of complex communication payloads after launch. 

Calian product lines also include modulators and receivers for satellite transmission and reception. While the satellite modulator product line supports standard DVB-S/S2/S2X applications, Calian also develops custom and specialized products. The Calian multi-channel modulator and intelligent switching technologies offer a way to reduce capital and operating expenses, while the low-data-rate SDTS modulator has a significant presence in GNSS augmentation transmission for the satellite precise positioning market.  

Teleports 

Calian offers teleport services and operates teleports in Hawaii, Guam and central Canada, providing reliable satellite communications for a wide range of customers and services. In fact, the Calian Saskatoon Teleport hosts the world’s first full-motion, four-metre Q/V-band antenna for tracking low Earth orbit (LEO) or medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellites. 

 The recent acquisition of the U.S.-based Hawaii Pacific Teleport (HPT) was its latest step in providing teleport services. An independently operated teleport for more than 20 years, HPT provides secure, contiguous connectivity throughout the Asia Pacific region from its strategically located U.S.-based locations. It services a range of users, including U.S. government, mobility, broadcast and satellite operator support for both GEO and non-geostationary Earth orbit (NGEO) constellations.  


Satellite Operations 

Calian’s Satops Team, based in St. Hubert, Quebec, has been providing mission operations services to commercial and Canadian government-owned satellites since 1993. In 2023, in addition to supporting six satellites, the Satops team added a new commercial customer, with the potential for more in the coming year. This marks the 20th year the Calian Satops team has been providing dedicated support for SCISat, it celebrated its 20th year in orbit as of August 2023. Always innovating, this team is undertaking research in the use of machine learning to assist in satellite operations.

Various authors at Calian, Advanced Technologies contributed to this article including Dan Baril, Senior Vice President, Space, Darren Schlageter, Vice President, Communication Ground Systems, Russ Palmer, Vice President Software Defined Solutions, Peter Waskowic, Vice President, Satcom Products, Denis Sirois, Director Satellite Operations and Services, Mohamed Saad, President, Calian InterTronic, and Wilfried Megger, Managing Director, SatService, a Calian company. To contact our Calian experts, email [email protected].  

Calian Advanced Technologies is a global supplier of highly technical solutions, services and products to the aerospace and defence, satellite, wired and terrestrial wireless, test and measurement, agricultural technology, GNSS technology and nuclear industries. They provide infrastructure for satellite ground systems including antennas, antenna/RF systems, and software defined solutions for controlling and monitoring satellite network resources, equipment and services. Their engineering, nuclear and technical solutions teams are some of the most highly sought experts in their fields.  

Advanced Technologies also designs and manufactures Calian and OEM-branded communication products for wired and wireless applications and power management and control products for military vehicle applications. Additionally, they provide third-party build-to-print electronics/electromechanical engineering, manufacturing/test and product lifecycle management services for customers in commercial and defence/security markets.  www.calian.com/solutions/satcom/