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5/9/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

Carbon fiber satellite communication antennas offer higher performance

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New carbon fiber composite satellite communication antennas from Calian SED are designed to offer improved performance by reducing structural distortions that can arise with legacy ground systems comprised of steel or aluminum.

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A new line of advanced medium- and large-aperture radio frequency (RF) antennas constructed from carbon fiber composites was launched on May 6 by Calian Group Ltd.’s (Saskatchewan, Canada) Systems Engineering Division (SED). The lightweight antenna systems are said to be the culmination of several years’ research and development by Calian SED into composite materials and high-performance antenna design. Drawing on more than 30 years of experience in advanced RF ground systems, the company designed the composite carbon fiber antennas to meet the emerging needs of advanced RF ground system customers.

The technical challenges in satellite RF ground systems are increasing as satellite communication networks move to higher-frequency ranges like Q and V bands. At these higher frequencies, environmental factors such as rain, wind and uneven heating of the antenna surface can degrade signal performance. Calian SED’s new composite carbon fiber satellite communication antennas are designed to offer improved performance by reducing structural distortions that can arise with legacy ground systems comprised of steel or aluminum.

“With support from the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, and the innovative design team of Calian SED’s research organization, we were able to make the necessary innovations to build, qualify and commercialize this ground-breaking technology,” says Patrick Thera, president, Calian SED. “These antennas offer a significant advancement in RF antenna design and performance.”

Currently configured with either a 10 meter or 6 meter high performance composite carbon-fiber reflector and back structure, the design minimizes thermal, wind and gravity load distortion, providing improved performance in all frequency bands, including the Q/V range and above. The lightweight reflector design has the added benefit of fast installation and reduced shipping weight – key factors in the reduction of deployment costs. Calian SED says it plans to roll out additional aperture sizes in the future.

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