New Antennas with Integrated Feed Systems for Space Communications, Telemetry, and Surveillance

Compact satellites, or microsatellites, are transforming space-based surveillance systems. Typical configurations include a network of small satellites that can offer increased coverage and enhanced data collection rates when compared to conventional large scale systems. Microsatellites can also drastically reduce launching costs and mission development time, thus making remote sensing technologies more cost effective. Applications include vehicle tracking, maritime surveillance, crop growth analysis, and climate change observation. However, with satellite miniaturization, new design aspects arise. All satellite components have to be cleverly packaged within a small payload and materials must accommodate the harsh operating environments of space.

The objective of the proposed project is to research, design and test some new and compact antennas with integrated feed systems for such microsatellites while also making comparisons to more common designs in terms of size, cost, and performance. High levels of technical engagement are expected with satellite companies within Scotland. Examples include Clyde Space and PocketQube Shop. The intent of the proposed research project is to also benefit from ongoing research within the Microwave and Antenna Research Group at Heriot-Watt University. This group has a track record of developing new and innovative antenna designs, feeding systems, and filters for space technologies while also working alongside industry experts, technologists, and government scientists. Previous and current industrial partners include Airbus Defence and Space, Bell Labs Alcatel-Lucent, BSC Filters, COM DEV, Samsung, Huawei Technologies, Selex, and Thales Alenia Space. Some recent projects include planar antennas for onboard satellite antenna technologies and power amplifier design as well as compact antennas for microsatellites. Some of these activities have won awards from the European Space Agency (ESA) and The European Conference on Antennas and Propagation (EuCAP).

The project will be co-supervised by Professor George Goussetis and Dr. Symon K. Podilchak who are affiliated with the Microwave and Antenna Engineering Research Group. Many interactions with industry experts are planned throughout the project from Clyde Space and PocketQube Shop. It is also expected that any successfully developed designs from the research project may be flown in space.

Supervisor name: 
Symon K. Podilchak
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Project location: 
EM 2.02
Deputy name: 
George Goussetis