2018.B.4.2. Development of a Novel X-band Cassegrain Deployable Antenna for Microsatellite Platforms


Yoshiro Ogi (1)
Juan Reveles (1)
Vincet Fraux (1)
Mike Lawton (1)
Tao Huang (1)
Amjad Khan (1)
Ash Dove-Jay (1)
Alex Brinkmeyer (1)

  1. Oxford Space Systems, United Kingdom




Deployable, Antenna, X-Band, Cassegrain, Microsatellite


Space-borne large deployable reflector antennas are complex systems which require their radiating aperture to be stowed during launch and unfurled in orbit due to the limited stowage volume available compared to the larger deployed antenna size. Reflector antennas are widely used for telecommunications, Earth observation, navigation and science applications.

Generally, the larger the platform the larger the diameter of a fixed-geometry antenna that can be accommodated in the satellite bus. When a fixed-geometry antenna becomes unfeasible then a deployable architecture must be considered. With smaller spacecraft, such as microsats, a paraboloid of useful diameter must invariably be a deployable structure. Reflectors ranging from 4m to 25m in diameter are commercially available from two large organisations in the US: Astro Aerospace and Harris Corporation. From a NewSpace perspective, these antennas, although reliable, carry both a high price tag and the risk of being subject to export regulations. Therefore, availability of lower cost, high stowage efficiency antennas are key to unlocking the potential of smaller spacecraft.

OSS have embarked in the development of reflector antennas targeting cost-sensitive NewSpace missions. In this paper, we describe the development of a novel 2.7m diameter, C to X-band compatible Cassegrain deployable antenna intended for small platforms (~150kg). The novel architecture makes use of stored energy in proprietary flexible composite structures to achieve purely passive but controlled, predictable deployment. The backing structure consists of flexible ribs arranged circumferentially around a central hub, a compliant metal mesh is used for the reflector surface and a novel tubular collapsible structure is used to deploy and position the secondary reflector. In its stowed configuration, the antenna fits within a 0.61m diameter by 0.21m height cylinder and the total mass is approximately 11.5kg. The antenna development achieved TRL3 in Q4 2017 when a kinematic model demonstrated efficient stowage and reliable deployment through repeated testing. A description of the antenna architecture together with analysis and test results will be presented in a full paper.


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