The European Space Agency (ESA) runs several scientific exploration and research deep space missions e.g. Rosetta, Mars-Express, Venus-Express or space observatories like Herschel or Planck. To ensure a reliable communication with such deep space probes, ESA has built up a ground station antenna network all over the globe.
It is essential for the agency to maintain and upgrade the DSA network continuously to be able to achieve more bandwidth and a higher transmit power (EIRP) as well as a better receive sensitivity (G/T) – future missions such as the Aurora or the Laplace (EJSM) program have to deal with extremely large distances up to 1 billion km. Also manned exploration missions will require adequate communication performance of the ground stations, because of ever increasing much higher data rates.
Due to limited channel bandwith (100 MHz), X-band will not meet future requirements for high data-rate space research missions. ESA will therefore upgrade its DSA network with K-band receive option from 25.5 to 27.0 GHz.
Key technical challenges:
- Power handling capability (up to 25kW CW X-Tx)
- Integration of the water cooling system for X-band transmission
- Complex ortho mode junction directly integrated into the feed horn
- Integration of the complex combining network
- Low Insertion loss and high rejection
- Size limitation due to mechanical envelope constraints – the new feed will be integrated into the existing X- / X-band feed alignment (=additional extension)
- Accurate and cost efficient manufacturing
- Rx and Tx frequencies in X-band
- Rx and TX frequency meeting all ESA’s deep space communication requirements
European Space Agency