The objective of the activity is to develop a compact, active, reconfigurable, transmit, multiple beam antenna for medium earth orbit (MEO) satellites offering flexibility in coverage, beam pointing and power allocation.
Targeted Improvements: Introduction of reconfigurability and flexibility features and at least a 50% saving in terms of mass and volume with respect to current solutions based on mechanically steered reflectors.
Current generation medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite systems generate multiplebeams by means of a set of passive antennas employing reflectors.Next generation MEO satellite systems are expected to implement ahigher number of independent beams (e.g. 12 to 24) that might not be contiguous. This need would be well-served by a multi-beam active antenna that is optimised for the specific needs of MEO telecom applications. In particular, the ability to independently repoint the beams electronically is expected to significantly increase the interference management flexibility of the system and thereby facilitate coexistence with geostationary satellite networks sharing the same frequencies.
Active antennas may also permit RF power allocation reconfigurability amongst the beams.At the same time, there is a trend to increase the communication data rate,which implies a larger antenna aperture. With the passive antenna approach of current MEO systems, increasing the dimensions of 12reflectors (or even 24) on board a MEO satellite is not feasible without significantly changing the platform. Having only one or two active antennas (one for transmit and one for receive), replacing all the passive ones, would result in the needed space savings, allowing the antenna aperture to be increased to meet the system throughput requirements of future systems.
This activity will studyand develop a multi-beam, active antenna capable of generating a modest number of beams (12 24), to be embarked on MEO satellites. Active antennas tend to be complex and expensive, thus a priority in this development is placed on achieving a high integration density and developing an architecture that reduces the complexity of the active antenna. Recent developments in mobile user terminalantennas and electronically steerable payload data handling and transmission antennas shall be considered as a starting point, togetherwith new andemerging materials and manufacturing technologies and processes.The objectives of this activity shall be achievedby the design, analysis, development and manufacturing of a scalable engineering model in Ku- or Ka-band.
The antenna field of viewshallbe compatiblewith MEO applications. Several active paths from the antenna input to the radiating element shall be implemented in order to be able to experimentally verify critical technical functions, including: simultaneously steering several beams, thermal management concept and power handling.