This project is focusing on the development of novel waveguide harness solutions that provide mass savings in the order of 20% or more without penalty of mechanical and RF performance compared with existing implementations. A detailed review of present harness designs is performed to identify the individual mass contributions of the related hardware, as e.g. waveguide runs, interconnections and assembly material. Subsequently, techniques such as wall thickness reduction, material selection, fixation methods, alternative waveguide implementations and in particular bundling of waveguides runs are evaluated and compared with present harness designs to ascertain potential mass savings.
One high power and two low-power waveguide harness breadboards are developed, built and tested for Ku- and Ka-band applications to validate the advantages of the novel solutions. All aspects related to manufacturing, production quality and satellite integration are assessed.
Lowest possible mass is a key aspect for satellite hardware design.
Existing harness implementations relying on standard rectangular waveguide designs have reached the limits of performance as well as low mass.
Thus, the project is focussing on new solutions that provide essential mass savings while maintaining the same or better RF performance properties. Additional aspects are
Finally the developed solution should facilitate handling and integration while providing also an overall cost advantage.
The major development of this project is related to a triple-bundle waveguide solution, which relies on customized waveguide profiles that provides reduced mass and improved insertion loss and manufacturing properties. Consequently, three waveguide interconnections are realized in one associated waveguide routing, which allows interfacing of standard waveguides at arbitrary locations at the payload and antenna subsystems by the appropriate combination with standard waveguide components. Hence, this general solution provides a very compact integration of the assigned waveguide runs with considerable mass savings and essential reduced integration effort compared with state-of-the-art waveguide harness implementations.
The bundled-waveguide approach with customized waveguide profiles exhibits considerable advantages over traditional harness implementations using standard waveguide types, namely:
A bundled waveguide harness approach is developed for multi-beam satellite applications providing remarkable mass reductions compared with single standard waveguide interconnections. Several waveguide paths are associated closely in a profile sharing common separation walls. Novel waveguide components (e.g. bends, transformers, etc.) are developed, to allow convenient combination of bundled waveguide sections (with and without flange interconnections) for the realization of arbitrary routed (bundled) waveguide runs as well as interfacing with single standard waveguides at arbitrary locations at the antenna and payload subsystems, respectively. The profiles consider customized cigar-shape cross sections that have been optimized for the dedicated satellite frequency band to maintain lowest possible insertion loss while facilitating the manufacturing properties. The advantages of the novel solution are validated by the development of bundled waveguide harnesses for the Ku‑Rx, Ka-Tx and Ka-Rx frequency bands. The proof includes the manufacturing, integration and testing (RF performance and high power handling capability) of the hardware as well as detailed analyses of mechanical and thermal properties. A comparison of these novel harnesses with comparable traditional implementations demonstrates the essential benefits, namely, considerable mass savings, improved insertion loss and overall lower costs.