Hytera partners with D2N for Real-Time GPS Tracking at large rocket launch site in Australia
Southern Launch is a rocket launch service provider based in Adelaide, South Australia. Its goal is to develop a space launch capability to send satellites into orbit from its Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. The company also has a suborbital testing facility at the Koonibba Test Range.
To ensure it can operate smoothly and safely, Southern Launch required a fully encrypted and mission critical communications system that would also provide blue force GPS tracking, recording of all conversations, and dispatch covering a huge site. Southern Launch also needed high speed, 4K video streaming capabilities, which could be reliably transmitted across the launch range networks in real time.
One of the key challenges was to ensure the GPS tracking worked over the complex site topography, as the landscape is large, undulating and geographically challenging. Another challenge was that the repeater sites had to be designed so they could be installed and removed on a regular basis to suit the rocket launch schedule.
Southern Launch contacted several communications suppliers and decided that Hytera partner D2N Technology Solutions proposed the most suitable solutions to meet the company’s unique and challenging requirements. D2N first offered a multiple rental solution, so that Southern Launch could trial the technology to see if it really suited their needs.
Southern Launch was able to test the technology and coverage with and without repeaters. D2N worked with Southern Launch to ensure the right accessories were selected given the high noise level during launch operations as well. The rental offer also meant that the company did not have to commit to a big capital expenditure without first trialling the kit, which it saw as a major bonus.
D2N’s proposed solution comprised a Hytera DMR two-way radio network consisting of three Hytera XPT (Extended Pseudo Trunking) repeater sites and Kiloview IP video encoders. Each XPT site runs two DMR RD982 repeaters with RFI combining and multi-coupling hardware linked together by IP connectivity.
Southern Launch’s Mission Control Manager, Shane Bennett, commented: “D2N provided us with an efficient solution, and we had never seen this type of video encoding kit before. That said, it worked perfectly and was very effective. The radio solution was designed by D2N to deliver ultra-reliable communications across the entire site. This system provided the backbone for our security, range management and mission control, and is a critical enabler for us to undertake safe and secure launch operations.”
When all is said and done, for Bennett the real “wow” factor with the D2N comms solution is value for money as he explained: “We went back and forward for months discussing the radio network and when it came down to it the Hytera kit stood head and shoulders over the competition in terms of price and feature set with no sacrifice in performance.”
D2N MD Jason Owen said: “This is yet another example of how D2N focuses on fit-for-purpose solutions and not on the most expensive. We want to build ongoing relationships with our customers and not for a single sale, no matter how big the cost is. The Hytera solution we provided Southern Launch with offers the same level of encryption and quality as many other tier 1 manufacturers but at a far more competitive price point.”
To Bennett’s point Southern Launch and D2N spent a lot of time discussing the requirements for the project, and to ensure the equipment met Southern Launch’s needs D2N was able to provide initial rental equipment so they could trial the technology and ensure it would suit their needs.
Shane Bennett concluded: “In this way, as D2N offered us a rental solution first, we didn’t need to commit to a big capital expenditure without trialling the kit – a major bonus for us. The D2N comms solution met all of our requirements and also freed up funding that would otherwise have been spent on more expensive brands. That financial advantage along with the flexibility of their Hytera solution simply means we have the very best communications solution for our requirements.”