TICRA to analyse large deployable reflectors for Copernicus 4.0 missions
The European consortium led by HPS GmbH has won the prestigious 5 million € ESA contract “Large Deployable Reflector for Earth Observation”, (LEOB). The consortium was selected among several European competitors.
The call was initiated by ESA in late 2018 and has the purpose to bring the TRL of European Large Deployable Reflectors (LDR) from 5 to 6 by April 2021. The objective of the activity is the detailed design, development, built and testing of a LDR with full European technology, to demonstrate its feasibility and use in two Copernicus high priority candidate missions, currently studied at phase A/B1 level, i.e. CIMR and ROSE-L.
The CIMR (Copernicus Imaging Microwave Radiometer) instrument is a conical scanning radiometer operating from L- to Ka-band spinning at ten rotations per minute with an 8 m reflector. It shall provide improved measurements of sea ice concentration, in particular in terms of spatial resolution, temporal resolution (sub-daily) and accuracy (in particular near the ice edges).
The ROSE-L (Radar Observing System for Europe at L-band) instrument is an L-band SAR with a 12 m reflector. It shall measure soil moisture, forest type/forest cover (in support to biomass estimation), food security and precision farming. In addition, the mission will contribute to the monitoring of ice extent in the polar region.
LEOB is the last precursor project before the development of a flight model for CIMR and ROSE-L.
The project has recently kicked off and will end in April 2021 with a tested Engineering Model (EM) of the CIMR 8 m reflector. TICRA is responsible for the detailed RF analysis, performed with the GRASP software, of the CIMR and ROSE-L reflectors, and the correlation between the computed and measured RF patterns of the CIMR EM.
The CIMR and ROSE-L reflectors are realized in light mesh technology, in order to deploy the reflector in orbit, with a deployable ring and a cable network supporting a tensioned net covered by a RF reflective mesh.
LEOB is the second step taken by the consortium led by HPS towards European technological non-dependence for large deployable reflector subsystems. The first step was namely taken in 2017, with the H2020 LEA contract, see www.welea.eu , where a 5 m LDR at X-band is currently under development to reach TRL 8 by end of 2020.