Belgium connects to Marseille with DexROV’s first satellite link

Illustration of the satellite dish positioning on the flybridge of the JANUS II vessel (credit: COMEX)
Illustration of the satellite dish positioning on the flybridge of the JANUS II vessel (credit: COMEX)

To prepare for the first DexROV integration and testing activities in Marseille this month SPACEAPPS is working with COMEX and Omniaccess to establish the satellite components for the link between the Belgian control centre and the Janus II vessel in Marseille, France.

SPACEAPPS, in agreement with the consortium, have selected the Cobham SAILOR800 VSAT solution suggested by Omniaccess for the Above Desk Unit (ADU). It includes an 83cm reflector dish.

The antenna is a high-performance 3-axis stabilized unit, using KU-band.  The antennae will transmit at a frequency of 12-18 GHz, that is commonly used with satellite based communication.

The antennae weighs 125kg, so installation will involve a crane to lift it onto the Janus II, where it will be installed on the flybridge (the upper section).

The satellite set up requires a dedicated power supply unit, modem and router. This will involve 30 meters of power and data cables to connect everything.

Obham V800 3 axis stabilized antenna
Cobham V800 3 axis stabilized antenna

The set up should allow a connection between the Janus in Marseille, France and Zaventem, Belgium, at a maximum speed of 4Mbps. The team members involved in the trials will test out the connection capabilities at lower connection speeds – 512kbps in this trial, increasing the bandwidths in further trials in 2017 and 2018.

The connection needs to be able to deliver ROV controls and essential information for positioning DexROV’s ROV and building the virtual reality environment that the teleoperator uses to control the ROV.

Trials are planned for June 13-17 2016, and all communication hardware and software will be tested for the first time. Testing activities will be carried out between Marseille and Brussels to assess the network’s performance and verify that all the separate elements partners have been creating separately are seamlessly integrated.