eScan eScan Gateway

Objectives

The project objectives are focused in developing a novel ground station concept combining gateway and TT&C services based on an advanced electronic scanning multibeam antenna product (eScan) able to track simultaneously several Ka-Band satellites of LEO and MEO satellite megaconstellations.

The product solves and incoming satellite mega-constellations system inefficiency/problem- the need for a large number of different motorised- based reflectors farm to track many non-GEO satellites from a certain teleport site- in a very innovative way.

Challenges

The main challenges of the project are technical and arise from the combination of the high demanding requirements in terms of:

  • High Bandwidth
  • Large Scanning range
  • High Gain
  • Large number of beams

They impose several design decisions in order to maintain the product complexity at a manageable level while providing high performances based on the state of the art of several key technologies.

Benefits

The eScan antenna represents a new paradigm for the Satellite Ground Stations, and evolves completely the way they are designed, produced, implemented, tested and operated, with many benefits of all types associated:

  • Economic benefits; savings both in OPEX and CAPEX associated to ground infrastructure, operations and maintenance.
  • Installation simplification; instead of a large network of ground stations, just a eScan on the top of the control room dome.
  • Maintenance; lack of mechanical motion eliminates the possibility of mechanical breakdown guiding to less repairing works, failure events, …
  • For the environment. The substitution of extended farms of many motorised reflectors by a single electronic antenna without moving parts implies less installation surface, less noise, less power consumption, and is ecologically wise.

Features

The main features of eScan are:

  • Modular system: Reliability and Graceful degradation.
  • Flexibility for antenna upgrades.
  • Multifunctional antenna able to support multiple functions and services.
  • Electronic beam and beam agility.
  • Multibeam: single antenna coping with several satellites
  • Lighter systems and Less power consumption compared to mechanical antenna-based systems.
  • No moving parts: Lower long-term maintenance cost than its mechanical counterpart.
  • Easy maintenance and coordination with operations

System Architecture

The architecture of the product is based on the following building blocks:

  • Tx and Rx Active Array Antennas; separate antennas for TX and RX are envisaged, because the 20/30 GHz bands are too distant to allow a single antenna.
  • Clock and ref. signals distribution
  • Digital Processing
  • M&C subsystem, and the auxiliary subsystems; electrical, structural, etc.·        

And the following external interfaces:

  • Space to ground interface in what concern to Ka-band gateway and TTC.
  • TTC and user segment MODEMs interface
  • Control Centre interface which for contact plan reception and health and service monitoring information reporting

 

Plan

The overall development logic of the project considers the following phases:

  • Definition Phase. The required trade-offs and analysis are performed in order to define the preliminary product concept, technical solutions and product requirements.
  • Key Elements Breadboading devoted to the eScan antenna full prototype design and critical technologies breadboarding
  • Basic Module Prototype, basic building block for the construction of the antenna based on its repetition.
  • Large Scale Prototype Integration and Validation. It is a representative model of the product with the relevant functionalities able to be validated in a relevant environment.
  • Product Phase. During this phase, the final industrial version of the product is developed.

Current status

Project is at the beginning of the Definition Phase. On-going activities include the initial analysis and trade-offs to be reviewed in the Mid Term Analysis Review (DP-AR) milestone.

Initial efforts have been put on:

  • Identification of ways to reduce the antenna complexity while maintaining a high level of performance,
  • Basic structures to be used as antenna building blocks.
  • Identification of technology partners.

Contacts

ESA Contacts

Status date

Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 12:20