During this project, a 6m and 10m composite reflector antenna system have demonstrated their performance capabilities for Q/V band operation via over-the satellite testing.
The key challenges were the precision fabrication and assembly of large reflector systems at Q/V band to maximize uplink and downlink gain.
Composite reflectors offer increased stiffness and low CTE compared to metallic reflectors, giving improved performance under wind, gravity, and thermal loadings. This improved performance is key to successful deployments of large antennas in Q/V band.
The 6m and 10m antennas use advanced composite materials for the reflector panels and backstructure, providing a rigid structure with low CTE.
Both antenna system are a center-fed Cassegrain configuration, with dual circular polarization in both Tx and Rx. The composite reflector is fastened to a steel hub which houses the RF electronic equipment. The hub is in turn mounted to a turning head assembly, where dual azimuth drives, and a single elevation drive provide the motive force for on-station tracking.
The project was conducted in two phases. The first phase was the deployment of the 6m Q/V antenna to the test site, and its on-satellite testing. The second phase replaced the 6m reflector with a 10m reflector, and the test plan was then performed for this aperture.
Both the 6m and 10m antennas have been qualified with over-the-satellite gain, pattern and tracking tests. Preliminary performance requirements have been satisfied, and the antennas are ready for production.