The objective of the activity is to investigate relevant antenna concepts and manufacturing techniques enabling very lowcomplexity,medium gain array antenna capable of generating multiple fixed wide beams in future Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations with a large number of small satellites. A representative engineering model shall be manufactured and an RF test campaign shall beconducted tovalidate the developed concepts.
Targeted Improvements: To reduce the complexity and halve the overall footprint of the antenna system for future LEO constellations.
Description: Several broadband communication systems based on large constellationsof small satellites are currently under investigation, attracting important investments and media attention. They are targeted at enabling worldwide Internet access with competitive user subscriptions. This puts the main focus on complexity reduction at every level and in particular in the space segment, with a reliance on established passive antenna technology.
In this activity a mechanically simple yetefficient on-board array antenna solution shall be developed. Antenna solutions based on pillbox antennas and parallel plate waveguide beam formers are a possible approach, but also medium size passive multiple beam array antenna solutions. In addition, the largenumber of antennas required by such systems allows a departure from the conventional manufacturing techniques used today for space antennas. Series production techniques, such as metallised injection moulded plastics and 3D manufacturing shall be investigated in this activity.
A representative, scaled demonstrator of a medium gain array antenna generating multiple fixed wide beams shall be manufactured and an RF test campaign shall be conducted to validate the choices made and the suitability for series production.