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Development and qualification of a 2.8m lightweight reflector for C, X, Ku and Ka-band applications (i.e. frequencies up to 32GHz), being representative of a reflectors’ family for telecommunication satellites.
Its design is conceived to guarantee compatibility with state-of-the-art platforms (particularly those employing electric propulsion) and compliance with stability, mass and intermodulation requirements.
The reference configuration is based on the most recent spacecraft family by Thales Alenia Space (i.e. Spacebus-Neo).
Besides thermo-mechanical and electrical performance, the design objectives have included production-related aspects, such as reduction of manufacturing lead time and of production cost, which led to the definition of a standardized design for the reflectors’ family, based on a modular architecture and on the wide use of standard parts, as well as on the adoption of new materials and new technologies.
Two examples of this design approach are here reported:
With respect to the reflectors currently procured on the market, the following benefits have been achieved:
The lightweight and low cost features of the reflectors’ family can be achieved thanks to the use of:
Moreover, the use of low cost mould and the simplification of polymerization process allow to reduce the production costs.
Although the main domain of application for these reflectors are telecommunication antennas, the enabling technologies and most of the standard components selected and validated during the development can be applied as well for any other space applications, such as Earth Observation, Science and Deep Space Exploration.
The project activities started in early 2015 as an internally funded project. The contract entered into force in October 2016. The project activities included:
The project included the following reviews:
The activities have been completed in January 2019 with the Final Review.