A multidisciplinary staff engineered a small, gentle, and low-cost deployable antenna for nano- and micro-satellite communications.
In a brand-new research, scientists from Korea and the USA have revealed a novel antenna design to be used in CubeSat nanosatellites utilizing state-of-the-art communications methods like 6G communications. Utilizing theoretical information based mostly on origami principle, mechanical dynamics, and antenna array ideas, the researchers constructed a small, light-weight, and reconfigurable antenna for CubeSat relying on operational mode chosen. This might probably mark the start of a brand new period in satellite tv for pc communications!
Fashionable telecommunication methods depend on satellites to relay indicators throughout the globe shortly and reliably, enabling customers to ship messages internationally immediately, watch dwell tv, or – extra lately – maintain convention calls with world companions proper from the kitchen desk!
Communications satellites use high-frequency radio waves to transmit information, with antennas appearing as a two-way interface, changing electrical present supplied by the transmitter into radio waves, and vice versa when paired with a receiver. Antennas are due to this fact important items of kit, with out which satellites and floor receivers could be virtually ineffective.
Nonetheless, regardless of advances in trendy satellite tv for pc design and efficiency, antenna expertise stays a limiting issue for next-generation telecommunications resembling 6G. Engineers wrestle to miniaturize antennas for nanosatellites with out compromising on their value or efficiency. For example, nanosatellites like CubeSats may be as small as a ten cm3 dice, however manufacturing a communication antenna sufficiently small to be saved inside it throughout launch and flight is pricey and technologically difficult.
“Many high-performance antennas reported for CubeSat methods are deployable, foldable, or inflatable.” explains Dr. Sangkil Kim from Pusan Nationwide College in South Korea.
Not too long ago, Dr. Kim and his colleagues at Pusan Nationwide College and the College of Alabama, USA, developed a brand new deployable antenna for CubeSats utilized in low-earth orbit (LEO). Apparently, their design was impressed by the arithmetic of “origami”, the Japanese artwork of paper folding—particularly a area known as spatial mapping—which enabled them to determine on one of the best geometry for a foldable, deployable antenna. With the design on paper, they got down to manufacture the antenna and take a look at it.
With outstanding dimensions of 32.5 mm3 when folded and weighing merely 5 grams, the prototype antenna suits snugly inside a CubeSat. The researchers used an affordable materials to make the majority of the antenna, utilizing particular joints to fold the sq. boards right into a dice, which may simply be saved throughout launch and flight. As soon as in orbit, the antenna may be deployed exterior of the CubeSat, able to obtain and transmit information.
Prof. Kim and his staff went one step additional and arrange completely different deployment modes, relying on whether or not satellites wanted to speak with one another or with Earth. “The quantity, radiation patterns, and polarizations of the antenna are reconfigurable in accordance with the required operation mode,” Dr. Kim explains. This configuration enabled the researchers to optimize the antenna’s efficiency for every sort of communication.
With such promising outcomes, the scientists hope their design will encourage future deployable designs for nanosatellite antenna expertise and pave the way in which for next-generation communication methods, resembling 6G. Not solely will their prototype cut back the price of future nanosatellites and enhance their general efficiency, however it will also be scaled as much as bigger satellites in geostationary orbit and different communication platforms on Earth.
Reference: “Origami-Impressed Radiation Sample and Form Reconfigurable Dipole Array Antenna at C-band for CubeSat Functions” by Myeongha Hwang, Gyoungdeuk Kim, Sangkil Kim and Nathan Seongheon Jeong, 20 October 2020, IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation.