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The main objective of this ARTES 3-4 proposal is to complete the necessary activities for flight qualification at sub-assembly level of the components of the ELSA + Active In-orbit Reconfigurable Rx Antenna in Ku Band with capacities for Beam Hopping and Geolocation and mitigation of interferences. The proposed antenna is a significant evolution of the ELSA antenna on board the AG1 Small Geo platform, also partially funded by ESA. The ARTES 3-4 program proposed herein is the continuation of an ARTES5.2 program finished on December 2015. The main objective of that program was the detailed design and prototyping of the components identified as critical for the ELSA+ antenna, reducing this way the associated risk of the overall program.
In addition to the critical elements identified, this contract also covers the Qualification of a partial Structural Qualification Model (pSQM) and the RF and Thermomechanical analysis at antenna level.
The customer expectations identify needs and associated challenges in the design and technologies versus the heritage:
The dual pol and the extended band objective of the development are motivated by the huge increase in capacity that can be offered to the customer. The increase from 4 to 8 beams thanks to dual polarization implementation and the wideband operation up to 1050 MHz, allows a capacity up to 8400 MHz provided by ELSA+ antenna system.
The Beam Hopping aims at the adaptation of the satellite resources to the traffic demand in a very large coverage. It is beneficial since the beam is shared in time between different service areas according to expected traffic demand over the time. Besides, this concept of operation allows adjusting the beam-width to the specific service areas improving link performances (satellite EIRP and/or G/T).
Geolocation allows to monitor the position, power and polarisation of interfering emitters on ground with a granularity below 2 MHz within the FSS band. Knowing the position of possible non authorised emitters or intentional jammers allows the operator to take corrective actions, such as pointing, shaping or nulling (feature already available in the product) in the affected direction.
All this features allow offering the customer more capacity, flexibility and interference immune product, currently not available in the European market.
An on-board unit which provides the multibeam, enhanced with dual-polarization and extended bandwidth capability for the required G/T, with the pointing, nulling and shaping capability, and will perform interferences detection and beamhopping.
An on-ground unit to control the antenna system and also to process interference information in order to mitigate them properly, and to fully exploit the system features.
The on board HW architecture has been designed to comply with the new market needs. At the same time, the modularity approach gives flexibility to adapt to other requirements by means of growing up the number of elements or redesigning the affected units.
The architecture and main assemblies developed in the project correspond to the on-board unit including:
The activity allows for risk mitigation on the development for a commercial telecom project, and is the first step of a global plan defined in 3 steps:
The ARTES 3-4 project has been coordinated with Quantum PPP project, where ESA has reviewed together with EUTELSAT the proper design at CDR milestone and review the qualification of the subassemblies in the QR milestone.
ELSA+ antenna is qualified, as well as the building blocks and required technologies for the implementation of the product.
The ELSA+ antenna has been tested on board of the Quantum satellite and is ready to be launched in Q1 2021.