16, March 2018

ESA Open Invitation to Tender AO9148
Open Date: 12/03/2018
Closing Date: 09/05/2018 13:00:00

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 17.1ET.06
Prog. Ref.: Technology Developme
Budget Ref.: E/0901-01 – Technology Developme
Tender Type: C
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Products: Satellites & Probes / RF / Microwave Communication (Platform and Payloads) / Antennas / Omnidirectional, Helix, Horn, Parabolic, Phased Arrays / Platform vs Payload
Techology Domains: Electromagnetic Technologies and Techniques / Antennas / Array Antennas and Standalone Radiators
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. & Quality
Department: Electrical Engineering Department
Division: RF Payloads & Technology Division
Contract Officer: Ferreol, Audrey
Industrial Policy Measure: N/A – Not apply
Last Update Date: 12/03/2018
Update Reason: Tender issue

Monitoring the external condition of a space station present both operational and technical challenges. As experience shows, Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVA) are difficult and Crew has very limited time available for performing inspection operations. When not involving the on-orbit crew, the complexity of planning for and executing robotic operations inhibitsgeneral purpose inspection surveys. Technical challenges associated with inspection operation involve detectableresolution and achievable viewing angles, resulting in several blind spots. These aspects are compounded when considering a Deep space habitat.For these reasons, future exploration missions investigate the use of free-flying multipurpose drones. To demonstrate the feasibility of having small satellites providing autonomous inspection and support services for deep space habitat, the CubISSat mission is analysed for deployment, formation, rendezvous and docking back of a cubesat (10-12 units)free-flyer at the ISS. Considering the presently envisioned approach, CubISSat communicates both with the ISS and toground with a different schemes for TMTC and DDL (data down link) in the proximity area of the ISS and in the far-range area(>3 Km); CubISSat collects high resolution images of the ISS and aims at transmitting 6MB per frame (in caseno data compression is implemented).Depending on the mission needs and on the DDL strategy, a medium/high gain antenna is needed toclose the link budget. When a single element antenna cannot provide sufficient gain, an array is a possible solution. A deployableantenna allows to increase the limited available (radiating) surface allowed by the cubesat dimensions and to allocate anarray.Asthe CubISSat docks back after inspection flight, the antenna deploys and folds back after the data downlink isconcluded.The activityincludes an initial phase aimed at acquiring details on the most updated mission concept for deep space habitat inspection and scientific experiment making use of free-flying cubesat both for ISS and Cis-lunar. Antenna system requirements from the link budget arethen elaborated and consolidated. Candidate technologies for both radiating elements and deploying mechanisms are traded-off based on performance to minimise size, mass and volume.Performance of the selected solution are assessed. Additional potential applications will also be analysed (e.g. lunar missions). The outcome of the activity is a fully representative breadboard to validate the design. Full test campaign to verify the antenna in terms of RF performance and mechanism reliability concludes the activity.

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