2015.B.2.3. Low-Profile Antenna Package for Efficient InterCubeSat Communication in S- and V-band


Clement Vourch (1)
Timothy Drysdale (1)

  1. University of Glasgow, United Kingdom




v-band; intersatellite communication, COTS; 60GHz


CubeSats have been under intensive investigation for the last decade or so. The concept of constellations has emerged in response to increasing CubeSat capabilities, especially in altitude and positioning control. A constellation will most likely consist of CubeSats distributed across a finite planar region parallel to the earth’s surface, perhaps a few hundred metres or a kilometre across (depending on numbers). Besides spreading the risks and the costs of a mission, constellations can be far larger from edge to edge than the arms of even the largest conventional satellites (typically a handful of metres). For example, the OLFAR (Orbiting Low Frequency Array) mission is designed for radio astronomy observation below 30MHz. At those low frequencies, large aperture of over 10km is a must to achieve required spatial resolution, operating as a distributed aperture synthesis array. High-data rate communication is key for the success of such a configuration. The 60GHz band provides 12GHz of bandwidth for inter-satellite communication (59GHz to 71GHz). Yet the communication system must respect the mechanical and electrical requirements of the Cubesat platform, such as the tradeoff between radio power and communication distance. We will first describe the design and simulation of a very low profile antenna package including two 60GHz Bull’s eye antennas and a low frequency antenna for channel control tasks. We previously experimentally demonstrated an individual Bull’s eye antenna with good agreement to simulated results. In our double antenna design, we expect to obtain 4.7GHz of bandwidth, a moderately high gain of 18dBi and a high efficiency (95%), using two orthogonal polarisations for the transmit and receive antennas. Each antenna is fixed as transmit or receive only, due to the 60 GHz chipset that is currently available to us. This antenna package is completed by an omnidirectional 2.4GHz-modified Planar Inverted F Antenna (PIFA) suitable for a reliable low-data-rate link over which channel management data can be sent. The full antenna package is readily integrable onto a 0.5U face of a CubeSat with a total thickness of 6.4mm. We finish with an evaluation of the 60GHz link budget and expected performance of such a system, based on commercially available V-band transmitter and receiver modules.


  • Download slides in PDF format here (2MB)


  • Download the paper in PDF format here (<1MB)

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