17, August 2018

ESA Open Invitation to Tender AO9273
Open Date: 13/08/2018
Closing Date: 12/11/2018 13:00:00

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 18.1TF.03
Prog. Ref.: CC for Advanced Tech
Budget Ref.: E/0505-01C – CC for Advanced Tech
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 / Reflector and Lens Antennas
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate Telecom & Integrated Applica
Department: Telecom Technologies,Product&Systems Dep
Division: Technologies and Products Division
Contract Officer: Piesche, Claudia Ria
Industrial Policy Measure: N/A – Not apply
Last Update Date: 13/08/2018
Update Reason: Tender issue

The objective of the activity is to develop a passive low-power distribution network to support 1000-fixed-beam-class Ka-band antennas.Targeted Improvements:Enabling technology development for beam forming networks capable of handling 1000 fixed beams.Description:Emerging new telecom applications for Very-High-Throughput-Satellites (i.e. ICE programme) require a very high number of beams (i.e. about 1000). State-of-the-art antenna solutions for the first generation of high throughput satellites are based onpassive antennas (possibly adopting beam hopping) that are able to generate about 200-300 beams. For the next generation, requiringan increase in the number of beams and antenna performance, active antennas (characterised by distributed amplification at radiating element level) have been identified as a key enabling architecture in order to guarantee flexibility and reconfigurability of pattern and power allocation.The availability of beam-forming networks with a high number of beam ports and radiating element ports is particularly challenging for the realization of 1000-beam-class active antennas, and solutions based on the current technology (i.e.Butler-matrix-based) would result in unacceptable mass, volume, and complexity.Active antennas based on bi-dimensional lenses (e.g. Rotman lenses), or three dimensional discrete lenses with free-space excitation, are particularly attractive because they permit acombination of the signal distribution and recombination functions, as done by Butler matrixes, but at the same time offer more flexibility (e.g. excitations are not forced to be orthogonal, sparse array layouts can be adopted, etc.).In addition:1) the complexity of discrete lens antennas does not grow significantly when increasing the number of beams;2) large frequency bandwidth can be obtained because of the true-time delay behaviour;3) a large angular field of view is guaranteed;4) an onset configuration (free of blockage) canbe implemented;5) multiple antenna beams can be formed without the need for switches or phase shifters.On the other side, active antennas based on such distribution networks are critical in terms of accommodation, layout, manufacturing, volume and weight. Some limitations could be mitigated adopting a multilayer technology or emerging manufacturing techniques.In this activity a compact, 3 GHz-bandwidth, passive distribution network for a 1000-beam-class Ka-band active antenna shall be designed, manufactured and tested at breadboard level.

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