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Novel antenna concepts and developments for CubeSats

Novel antenna concepts and developments for CubeSats

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A miniaturized class of satellites called SmallSats, whose weight are typically under 500 kg, has recently garnered significant attention to exploit space for many applications. A key member of the SmallSat family are CubeSats. CubeSats can weigh as little as 1.33 kg with a volume as small as 10 x 10 x 10 cm3. Realizing the potential of CubeSats, the scientific community is revisiting existing spacecraft technologies to enable their integration with the small CubeSat form factor [1,2]. This chapter particularly focuses on the antenna research and development. We review the general constraints that antenna engineers face while designing antenna systems for CubeSats. An extensive literature collection is presented to survey the current state of the art in antenna systems for CubeSats. We also discuss recent antenna research that enables many exciting missions in the future.

Chapter Contents:

  • 11.1 Introduction
  • 11.2 Existing standards for small satellites
  • 11.3 Antenna requirements for CubeSats
  • 11.3.1 Frequency
  • 11.3.2 Antenna radiated power, gain, and radiation pattern
  • 11.3.3 Antenna material
  • 11.4 Representative current antenna concepts for CubeSats
  • 11.5 Ka-band symmetric umbrella reflector antennas (up to 0.5 m)
  • 11.5.1 Antenna configuration
  • 11.5.2 Reflector surface characterization
  • 11.5.3 Deployment strategy
  • 11.6 Ka-band offset reflector antennas (up to 1 m and beyond)
  • 11.6.1 Reflector design and feed development
  • 11.6.2 Proposed deployment strategy
  • 11.7 Reflectarray concept
  • 11.7.1 Deployment and design
  • 11.7.2 Flight model performance
  • 11.8 Patch antennas integrated with solar panels
  • 11.8.1 Transparent (supersolar) patch antennas
  • 11.8.2 Nontransparent (subsolar) patch antennas
  • 11.9 Conclusion
  • Appendix A: Characterization of umbrella reflectors
  • A.1 Mathematical representation of the gore surface
  • A.2 Finding the optimum feed location
  • A.3 Gain loss as a function of the number of gores
  • Appendix B: Mesh characterization for deployable reflectors
  • B.1 Simple wire grid model
  • B.2 Equivalent wire grid model for complex knits
  • Acknowledgement
  • References

Inspec keywords: satellite antennas; artificial satellites

Other keywords: SmallSat family; CubeSat form factor; antenna systems; spacecraft technologies

Subjects: Single antennas; Satellite communication systems

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