Solar race competitors report successful satellite broadband trials

Engineering students taking part in the World Solar Challenge have reported successful trials of Inmarsat's satellite broadband service.

Solar Team Twente, a group of 16 Dutch engineering students, are making final preparations for the 1,864-mile (3,000km) endurance race across the Australian outback in solar-powered vehicles.

The team from the Netherlands is one of two taking part and being sponsored by Inmarsat in the event from Darwin to Adelaide.

Flawless performance
Members of Solar Team Twente, who are competing with a vehicle called The Red Engine, have been conducting race simulation exercises to determine whether their systems are robust and effective in real-life situations.

They included trials of a Cobham Satcom EXPLORER 325 BGAN terminal.

Following the tests run over three days, the team reported that all of their equipment and systems had worked flawlessly.

Tough challenge
They will use BGAN to share information with their support team back at their university, such as weather forecasts, road conditions, potential hazards along the route and race-critical details of the performance of the vehicle.

The service will also be used to keep friends, family and fans up-to-date on the vehicle's progress through updates on Solar Team Twente's website and via social media.

“We are delighted that Solar Team Twente's preparations are going so well and wish them the very best of luck in what is one of the toughest technological challenges in the world,” said Gerbrand Schalkwijk, Vice President, Inmarsat Enterprise Energy.

Exploring opportunities
“Inmarsat's mobile satellite service solutions are exceptionally reliable and robust – ideal for harsh, remote environments.

“We are actively exploring opportunities to develop enhanced services for the rapidly expanding alternative energy sector.”

The World Solar Challenge is a biennial race run to highlight global efforts to harness natural sources of energy.

Solar Team Twente:
World Solar Challenge: