Chapter 12

Antennas for Satellite Communications

Eric Amyotte and Luís Martins Camelo

MDA, Canada

12.1 Introduction and Design Requirements

This chapter focuses on satellite communications antennas. Although it is not possible to do an exhaustive review of all antenna solutions for all types of spaceborne communications missions, the following sections provide an overview of the most common antenna designs used in today's communications satellite systems. An attempt was made to present examples from actual satellite programs for each type of antenna discussed. That was not always possible, however, since approval for the publication of technical details is often difficult to obtain in this highly competitive commercial field, where trade secrets and export regulations are omnipresent. Nevertheless, a lot of hopefully useful information has been included in these pages, supported whenever possible by examples from past programs, and highlighting and discussing the main challenges and constraints facing the antenna engineer for each type of antenna and mission.

The laws of physics cannot be changed (yet), but antenna engineers have learned to use them to their advantage by relentlessly coming up with new and often highly innovative antenna design solutions. These new solutions usually target improvements in various areas including performance, price, mass, volume, power, schedule and reliability. These developments are spurred by the needs of next-generation systems such as higher ...

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