Matching Items (2)

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Inflatable parabolic reflectors for small satellite communication

Description

CubeSats offer a compelling pathway towards lowering the cost of interplanetary exploration missions thanks to their low mass and volume. This has been possible due to miniaturization of electronics

CubeSats offer a compelling pathway towards lowering the cost of interplanetary exploration missions thanks to their low mass and volume. This has been possible due to miniaturization of electronics and sensors and increased efficiency of photovoltaics. Interplanetary communication using radio signals requires large parabolic antennas on the spacecraft and this often exceeds the total volume of CubeSat spacecraft. Mechanical deployable antennas have been proposed that would unfurl to form a large parabolic dish. These antennas much like an umbrella has many mechanical moving parts, are complex and are prone to jamming. An alternative are inflatables, due to their tenfold savings in mass, large surface area and very high packing efficiency of 20:1. The present work describes the process of designing and building inflatable parabolic reflectors for small satellite radio communications in the X band.

Tests show these inflatable reflectors to provide significantly higher gain characteristics as compared to conventional antennas. This would lead to much higher data rates from low earth orbits and would provide enabling communication capabilities for small satellites in deeper space. This technology is critical to lowering costs of small satellites while enhancing their capabilities.

Principle design challenges with inflatable membranes are maintaining accurate desired shape, reliable deployment mechanism and outer space environment protection. The present work tackles each of the mentioned challenges and provides an

understanding towards future work. In the course of our experimentation we have been able to address these challenges using building techniques that evolved out of a matured understanding of the inflation process.

Our design is based on low cost chemical sublimates as inflation substances that use a simple mechanism for inflation. To improve the reliability of the inflated shape, we use UV radiation hardened polymer support structures. The novelty of the design lies in its simplicity, low cost and high reliability. The design and development work provides an understanding towards extending these concepts to much larger deployable structures such as solar sails, inflatable truss structures for orbit servicing and large surface area inflatables for deceleration from hypersonic speeds when re-entering the atmosphere.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Gain and bandwidth enhancement of ferrite-loaded CBS antenna using material shaping and positioning

Description

Loading a cavity-backed slot (CBS) antenna with ferrite material and applying a biasing static magnetic field can be used to control its resonant frequency. Such a mechanism results in a

Loading a cavity-backed slot (CBS) antenna with ferrite material and applying a biasing static magnetic field can be used to control its resonant frequency. Such a mechanism results in a frequency reconfigurable antenna. However, placing a lossy ferrite material inside the cavity can reduce the gain or negatively impact the impedance bandwidth. This thesis develops guidelines, based on a non-uniform applied magnetic field and non-uniform magnetic field internal to the ferrite specimen, for the design of ferrite-loaded CBS antennas which enhance their gain and tunable bandwidth by shaping the ferrite specimen and judiciously locating it within the cavity. To achieve these objectives, it is necessary to examine the influence of the shape and relative location of the ferrite material, and also the proximity of the ferrite specimen from the probe on the DC magnetic field and RF electric field distributions inside the cavity. The geometry of the probe and its impacts on figures-of-merit of the antenna is of interest as well. Two common cavity backed-slot antennas (rectangular and circular cross-section) were designed, and corresponding simulations and measurements were performed and compared. The cavities were mounted on 30 cm $\times$ 30 cm perfect electric conductor (PEC) ground planes and partially loaded with ferrite material. The ferrites were biased with an external magnetic field produced by either an electromagnet or permanent magnets. Simulations were performed using FEM-based commercial software, Ansys' Maxwell 3D and HFSS. Maxwell 3D is utilized to model the non-uniform DC applied magnetic field and non-uniform magnetic field internal to the ferrite specimen; HFSS however, is used to simulate and obtain the RF characteristics of the antenna. To validate the simulations they were compared with measurements performed in ASU's EM Anechoic Chamber. After many examinations using simulations and measurements, some optimal designs guidelines with respect to the gain, return loss and tunable impedance bandwidth, were obtained and recommended for ferrite-loaded CBS antennas.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013