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1 LE/ESSE Payload Design 4.3 Communications Satellite Payload - Hardware Elements Earth, Moon, Mars, and Beyond Dr. Jinjun Shan, Professor of Space Engineering Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering Room 255, Petrie Science and Engineering Building Tel: ext Homepage:

2 Overview of Communications Satellites - I The design, manufacture, and operation of a communications satellite are no simple matter, complicated by the fact that it must survive the rigors of launch and deployment in orbit, followed by many years of satisfactory operation. It is critical that the payload and the bus work hand in hand to establish a highly efficient radio repeater on a stable space platform. Bus requirements: Dr. Jinjun Shan, Professor of Space Engineering Communications Payload - Hardware 2

3 Overview of Communications Satellites - II The communication payload is the communication equipment carried by the satellite, and principally consists of relay equipment (transponders) and antennas. The important parameters for the communication payload are These parameters are ultimately determined according to a trade-off between the performance of satellite and that of the terrestrial stations. A recent trend has been toward reducing the load on the terrestrial stations and increasing the satellite performance. Consequently, the satellite must have higher transmitting power, a higher operating frequency and greater antenna gain. Communications Payload - Hardware 3

4 Antenna Technology Communications Payload - Hardware 4

5 Geometry - I Polar coordinate system is normally used for antenna. Antenna gain: the ratio of power radiated per unit solid angle by that antenna in a given direction to the power radiated per unit solid angle in the same direction by an isotropic antenna fed with the same power. Gain in the direction (θ,φ), G(θ,Φ), can be given by w( θ, φ) G ( θ, φ) = / 4π where w(θ,φ) is power flux density in the (θ,φ) direction. If antenna bean direction is not specified, antenna gain is usually taken to mean gain in the direction of maximum radiation. The gain of parabolic antennas that are often used in satellite communications is π G = η D λ where η is aperture efficiency (50-70%), D is antenna diameter, λ is wavelength. 2 P t Communications Payload - Hardware 5

6 Geometry - II Communications Payload - Hardware 6

7 Beamwidth - I Beamwidth is determined by antenna pattern, and it is normally used in the form of half-power beamwidth, which is the angular width of the beam at 3 db below peak power. For a reflector antenna it may be expressed as λ θ 3dB = α D [deg] where α is a factor that depends on the shape of the reflector and the method of illumination. For a typical antenna, α = 65 ~70. [Examples] Communications Payload - Hardware 7

8 Beamwidth - II Communications Payload - Hardware 8

9 Beamwidth - III Communications Payload - Hardware 9

10 Sidelobe characteristics The mountain-shaped curves generated in directions other than that of the main beam are called as side lobes. They may produce interference on other satellite communication systems and be a means of receiving interference from other systems. Side lobes must be reduced as much as possible. In the case of aperture antenna like parabolic ones, the gain is maximum when the aperture is irradiated with uniform amplitude and phase. The gain of the 1st side lobe will only be 13 db lower than this maximum main-beam gain. Question: How to reduce the 1st side lobe level? Communications Payload - Hardware 10

11 Polarization Linear polarization Vertical Horizontal Circular polarization Right-hand Left-hand Communications Payload - Hardware 11

12 Horn antennas - I A horn antenna is often used as a primary feed of a reflector antenna. It can also be used by itself when a wide beamwidth is required. Horn antennas have come to be used as satellite onboard antennas. Why? Horn antennas are broadly divided into two types: Conical horn (circular waveguide) and Pyramidal horn (rectangular waveguide). Conical, Pyramidal, Corrugated Parabolic antenna Communications Payload - Hardware 12

13 Horn antennas - II Communications Payload - Hardware 13

14 Horn antennas - III 1) The Ku-band 12 GHz pyramidal horn antenna operates between 11.7 and 12.5 GHz. 2) It can be in either horizontal or vertical polarization. 3) The radiation performance is optimized for global coverage out to 8.4º. Communications Payload - Hardware 14

15 Horn antennas - IV Because horn antennas feature good agreement between theoretical and measured values of gain and are structurally strong, they are used as reference antennas when measuring the gain of various types of antennas in the microwave band. Question: How to select from different types of horns? Standard horns have smooth interior walls to minimize losses and reduce the generation of higher order modes that affect efficiency and polarization performance. Manufacturing technologies: welding or electroforming? Communications Payload - Hardware 15

16 Horn antennas - V The most common use of the horn is as a radiating element for a reflector type of antenna. The horn is placed at or near the focus of a parabolic reflector to illuminate the surface. The horn as a primary radiator of the reflector must be designed to introduce the proper radiation of microwave energy across the reflector. Its ability to produce the proper primary radiation pattern is determined by its size, shape, and internal structure. Other important factors in horn design are cross-polarization purity and sidelobe performance. Corrugated horns are often used as the primary feed of a reflector antenna. Communications Payload - Hardware 16

17 Corrugated horn Desirable characteristics: Axial-beam symmetry (vertical and horizontal dimensions) Low sidelobe level Low cross-polarization High beam efficiency (~95%) The design and manufacture of the corrugated horn are more complicated than for smooth horns. Electroforming is the norm technique. Figure: A Feed Corrugated Horn and Associated Network Communications Payload - Hardware 17

18 Reflector antennas Reflector antennas have found wide use in satellite communications and Broadcast Satellite (BS) reception. A reflector antenna converts a spherical wave radiated from the primary feed at the focus to a plane wave to achieve high gain and low side lobes. Typical reflector antennas are Parabolic antennas Cassegrain antennas Gregorian antennas Offset parabolic antennas Offset Cassegrain antennas Offset Gregorian antennas Communications Payload - Hardware 18

19 Parabolic antennas - I The parabolic antenna is a high-gain reflector antenna. A typical parabolic antenna consists of a parabolic reflector illuminated by a small feed antenna. Two typical antenna geometries using parabolic reflectors are center-fed and offset. The center-fed parabola is circularly symmetric with the feed located at the focus. The offset reflector parabola allows the feed to be placed below the line of transmission. Communications Payload - Hardware 19

20 Parabolic antennas - II How to determine the size of reflector? Communications Payload - Hardware 20

21 Cassegrain and Gregorian antennas Reflector antennas may be designed with two reflecting surfaces. Technical and performance advantages to using two reflectors: Communications Payload - Hardware 21

22 Offset antennas - I The prime focus-fed parabola operates in principle like a reflecting mirror. It is efficient and effective because of the ideal geometry that is possesses. Parabolic reflector antennas have no aberration if center fed. Drawback? How to avoid? Offset-fed antennas: parabolic, Cassegrain, Gregorian. Communications Payload - Hardware 22

23 Aperture Blockage Effects Effect of blockage on sidelobe level for a hypothetical center-fed parabola. Communications Payload - Hardware 23

24 Offset antennas - II The offset-fed parabola eliminates feed blockage and substantially reduces reflection of energy from the reflector back into the feed. The physical characteristics have less symmetry and require more careful design and manufacture, experience has produced very efficient and high-performing spacecraft antennas of this class. The offset reflector permits placement of feeds much closer to the repeater electronics and suppresses sidelobe levels that would result from feed blockage. Nearly all bent-pipe type satellites adopted the offset reflector design. Specific dimensional characteristics of the offset reflector. Communications Payload - Hardware 24

25 Offset antennas - III (Technical drawbacks?) a) Offset parabola experiences some efficiency loss because the beam is tilted slightly upward from optimum. Gain degradation due to beam offset Communications Payload - Hardware 25

26 Offset antennas - IV (Technical drawbacks?) b) Sidelobe levels and cross-polarization, which are different depending on which direction one looks from boresite. c) Cross polarization isolation, which could be degraded by the lack of circular symmetry of the antenna system. d) Deformation of the reflector surface and feed support from differential solar heating and the resulting thermal expansion. That misshapes the reflector causing the pattern to distort. Communications Payload - Hardware 26

27 Shaped beam antennas Intended to provide a non-circular beam pattern Desirable for area coverage footprints Achieved with one of the following techniques Standard parabolic reflector with multiple feed horn array Shaped (distorted surface) reflector and single feed horn Phased array Communications Payload - Hardware 27

28 Antenna patterns - I For most spacecraft antenna systems, the feedhorn works with a reflector to produce the desired coverage pattern. A single feedhorn system, 3 db beamwidth. Real antenna patterns are shaped to match the desired service area. At C-band frequencies and higher, it is practical to generate a beam that follows the contour of a country or region by combining the action of several individual feedhorns. Beam shaping is a powerful technique for increasing the effectiveness of a communications satellite. [Examples] Communications Payload - Hardware 28

29 Bent-Pipe Repeater Design Communications Payload - Hardware 29

30 Bent-Pipe Repeater with Transponders 1. Wideband Receiver 2. Input Multiplexer 3. Redundancy Switching and Power Amplification 4. Output Filter and Multiplexer Communications Payload - Hardware 30

31 100 db of Repeater Gain Communications Payload - Hardware 31

32 Section 1 Wideband Receiver This figure shows the block diagram of a typical wideband communication receiver that amplifies the 500 MHz uplink band and translate it to the downlink frequency range without modification. Communications Payload - Hardware 32

33 Receiver Low Noise Design Use of amplifier stages in a typical wideband receiver. Communications Payload - Hardware 33

34 Objectives in Receiver Design Low noise Minimize front end noise Maximize front end gain Gain and gain flatness Adequate dynamic range C/IM>50 db under expected multicarrier load Protection from overload Proper frequency translation Non-inversion of spectrum Frequency translation error Phase noise Spurious (spur) rejection Stability Packaging Mass Power Solid operation under all modes and conditions Communications Payload - Hardware 34

35 Section 2 Input Multiplexer A six-channel input multiplexer composed of individual microwave filters. Communications Payload - Hardware 35

36 Channelization at RF Channelization employs passive RF filtering to accomplish several tasks: Establish the bandwidth of the transponder Separate channels prior to amplification and prevent multipath Control adjacent channel interference in some cases Performance within the usable bandwidth (passband) is critical to service Gain flatness (amplitude ripple) Gain slope Group delay (deviation from constant delay or linear phase) Group delay ripple Out-of-band rejection Transponder wideband components also contribute Communications Payload - Hardware 36

37 Typical Transponder Bandwidths Communications Payload - Hardware 37

38 Section 3 Redundancy Switching Coaxial S-switch (SPDT) 2/3 switch R-switch (Baseball Switch) C-switch Communications Payload - Hardware 38

39 Section 4 Output Filter and Multiplexer Schematic diagram if a circular-waveguide output filter Communications Payload - Hardware 39

40 OMUX Arrangement A six-channel output multiplexer configuration Communications Payload - Hardware 40

41 Future Directions for Satellite Communications New satellite applications Emphasis on the broadcast feature Paralleling the terrestrial networks Mobile communication systems Interactivity and multimedia The evolution of space technology Repeater innovations Antenna system innovations Spacecraft bus innovations Launch system development Managing technology risk Ground station technology VSAT technology extension Digital compression of video and voice Inexpensive TVROs for digital service Communications Payload - Hardware 41

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