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Compact High-Performance Reflector-Antenna Feeds and Feed Networks for Space Applications [Antenna Applications]

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4 Author(s)
Lee-Yow, C. ; Lockheed Martin Space Syst. Co., Newton, PA, USA ; Scupin, J. ; Venezia, P. ; Califf, T.

Reflector antennas are widely used on satellites to communicate with ground stations. They simultaneously transmit and receive RF signals using separate downlink and uplink frequency bands. These antennas require compact and high-performance feed assemblies with small size, low mass, low passive intermodulation (PIM) products [1], low insertion loss, high power handling, and low cross-polar levels. The feeds must also be insensitive to large thermal variations, and must survive the launch environment. In order to achieve these desirable features without prototyping and/or bench tuning, Custom Microwave Inc. (CMI) has combined integrated RF design, precision CAD, and a precision manufacturing technique known as electroforming to closely integrate the various components of a feed or feed network, thereby achieving small size while maintaining high RF performance [2]. In addition to close integration, electroforming eliminates split joints and minimizes flanges by allowing several components to be realized in a single piece, making it the ideal manufacturing technique for ultra-low passive-intermodulation applications. This paper describes the use of precision design CAD tools along with electroforming to realize high-performance feed assemblies for various communication frequency bands for fixed satellite, broadcast satellite, and broadband satellite services.

Published in:

Antennas and Propagation Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:52 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

Aug. 2010

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