Space Antenna Challenges for Future Missions, Key Techniques and Technologies
18.1 Overview of Chapter Contents
This chapter aims to identify the future needs and promising concepts for space antennas. This is quite a challenge. When asked to perform this exercise, the authors considered several ways of presenting their findings. Among them the following classifications were envisaged:
- By products (reflectors, arrays, radiators, etc.): This is a natural choice; nevertheless there is a risk that the product definition and challenges differ significantly with the application. As an example, a direct radiating array will have a high maturity level when used for synthetic aperture radar. However, when considered for a broadcast telecommunication mission, there are several key issues still to be solved, such as power consumption/dissipation, mass, and beam-forming network complexity for a large number of beams. Another consideration is the classification of array-fed reflectors. That is, where to put them? Should they be classified as reflectors or arrays? Finally the same consideration applies for radiators/feeds that are used in both arrays and reflectors.
- By applications (telecommunications, Earth observation, etc.): This is well in line with the actual situation where the antenna design is optimized for a given mission and there are ...