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Inflatable Antenna for Space-Borne Microwave Remote Sensing

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10 Author(s)
Wang Hong-jian ; CAS Key Lab. of Microwave Remote Sensing, Nat. Space Sci. Center/Center for Space Sci. & Appl. Res., Beijing, China ; Fan Bin ; Yi Min ; Guan Fu-Ling
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Although inflatable antennas represent a new and untested technology for remote-sensing applications, the advantages of small volume, low cost, and low mass provide an incentive for people to invest in developing this technology. The space-borne inflatable antenna concept was evaluated for passive microwave sensing of ocean temperature, wind, and precipitation. A large-diameter (3 m), on-axis, parabolic-torus antenna, operating in the L/C- and X-band frequency ranges, was designed and measured. This paper describes the system design of the inflatable space-borne antenna, including the mechanical design, the dynamic analysis, the deployment demonstration, and other key technologies. A photogrammetry tool was used to detect the rms accuracy of the antenna reflector's surface. An NSI planar antenna near-field testing system was used to measure the antenna's patterns and gain. We also analyzed the possible errors resulting from the measurements.

Published in:

Antennas and Propagation Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:54 ,  Issue: 5 )