RF testing of European Large Deployable Reflector

Despite the worldwide challenges with COVID-19, the European Large Deployable Reflector (LDR) antenna underwent RF test according to schedule in November 2020.


Courtesy of Large Space Structures GmbH

The LDR antenna has a projected aperture larger than 5 meter and it has been designed, analysed, manufactured and assembled by a consortium of European companies, including TICRA. The team was led by HPS GmbH under the LEA project which is funded by the European Commission, and saw a large contribution from LSS GmbH.

The RF measurement of the LDR antenna was performed in X band (10.65 GHz) using the Airbus’ Portable Antenna Measurement System (PAMS) in Ottobrunn, Germany. PAMS provides the probe corrected far-field pattern obtained from the radiated near-field, sampled on an arbitrary acquisition surface by a crane-based gondola probe.

This is the first test of the qualification campaign that will certify TRL 8 of the LDR antenna during the Spring 2021, making the antenna the first mesh-based LDR with full European technology ready to be launched in space. The RF test setup and the LDR geometrical details can be viewed in this video:

TICRA was tasked with providing RF simulations of the LDR antenna performance throughout the LEA project. The simulations were based on a detailed RF model of the LDR reflector and deployable truss, reflective tricot mesh and feed in GRASP.

The next step is to correlate the RF measured antenna pattern with the predictions. The preliminary results are very promising and we look forward to sharing the final results with you.

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