Antennas for lighter and more economical communication satellites

Antennas for lighter and more economical communication satellites

A communications engineer at the National University of Navarre has created two antenna prototypes for satellite communications. They are more light and less cumbersome than those that are traditionally used. In addition, with their help, you can significantly save money in the space industry.

Amagoya Tellenchea says that the space industry is increasingly choosing lighter antennas, because these aspects significantly reduce the cost of satellite launches. In recent years, success has been achieved thanks to the creation of various technologies, such as antennas based on partially reflective surfaces (PRS) or ultrathin antennas based on meta-surfaces.

The researcher used PRS technology to optimize the antenna for the satellite intended for tracking, telemetry and control. This system plays an important role in ensuring the correct operation of other satellites, such as the GPS system, located at an altitude of 20,000 km from the Earth. She is also responsible for monitoring satellite orbital parameters and communication with control centers on Earth.

Flat, easy, economical solution

The prototype created on the basis of PRS is a flat, easy and economical solution consisting of a metal grounded plane with a radiating element in the middle and a reflecting surface above. The design forms a resonant cavity, raising the gain. Such an antenna can be used instead of a more complex and large system, including 27 superimposed antennas.

The second antenna is based on meta-surface technology for applications such as television, the Internet, or the radar operating in the Ku line. The model is capable of providing double circular polarization. It is an innovative technology that can create radiation patterns with right and left circular polarization, providing reliable and versatile communication between satellites and earth stations.

The proposed antenna contains a material with lower electrical conductivity, allowing to achieve a configuration with a thickness of 1 mm. The solution was confirmed experimentally and showed the potential for use when replacing two different antennas used in real time.

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