OLYMPUS – entering the high-capacity service era in Ka-band!
In the early 1980s TICRA was involved in the design of the TVB 1 antenna on OLYMPUS for TV coverage of the Italian peninsula. At the time of launch, OLYMPUS was the largest civilian telecommunications satellite ever built. With four separate payloads, the mass of the satellite was 2595 kg.
OLYMPUS was the first European satellite to offer capacity in the Ka-band (20 / 30 GHz) – a band which became increasingly important over the next few years for internet communications by satellite.
Many companies in Europe and Canada participated in the OLYMPUS program, and TICRA’s contribution was the design of a dual reflector, where the sub-reflector is shaped in order to change the circular beam from the feed horn into an elliptical beam illuminating an elliptical main reflector. The satellite went through many modifications, however, the antenna design remained unchanged until the launch in 1989.
OLYMPUS was designed with a 7-year lifespan, but due to a mechanical malfunction it was unable to protect itself against a meteor shower in 1993. Incoming particles sent it spinning wildly and it had to be put out of service prematurely.
The GRASP model and drawing anno 1988 of Olympus showing the elliptical-aperture TVB 1 dual reflector, but also the two TT&C antennas, for which the composite coverage pattern was calculated for different positions of the solar panels.