A team of researchers from Valencia’s Polytechnic University (UPV), working for the Telecommunications and Multimedia Applications Institute (iTEAM), have created a new device that boosts the efficiency of satellites while simultaneously lowering their cost. It is a prototype of a radiant cell which integrates the four traditional beams from satellites with multibeam technology. These rays are presently discharged by four different antennas, each with their own reflective systems; the device designed by the iTEAM groups puts them together in a single piece of equipment.
Patented by the UPV, the device can provide, like the multibeam antennas, bidirectional broadband communications. This will make it viable to solve the weight issues of satellites by markedly decreasing their mass. Moreover, it eradicates the location design requirements of traditional reflectors and antennas, which commonly signify an added difficulty when employing of satellites, as well as raising their cost.
As scientist Marco Guglielmi explains, “The novelty of this structure is that it usually consists of an input and output with coaxial cables, and we have done the input with a cable, but the output is left open. We have transformed a filter into an antenna.”
Less is More
This device is hand palm-size and contains the four beams that the bulky conventional antennas used to discharge - without influencing the satellite’s signal. “The area it would cover would be exactly the same as current systems, but would do so with a fourth of the antennas”, says Mariano Baquero, researcher at the iTEAM-UPV.
A Large Range of Possibilities
Besides using it for telecommunication satellites, the features of the device allow it to be applied to several antenna hardware systems, as well as other technologies along with other devices. For instance, it could be applied to any space communication system, or mostly to any use that necessitates an antenna that can produce, with a single output, several individual beams.
Five inventors from Italy and Spain participated in the designing and creation process of the device: Piero Angeletti and Giovanni Toso, from the European Space Agency in Holand, and Marco Guglielmi, guest researcher from the UPV, along with Vicente Boria and Mariano Baquero, from the iTEAM institute of the same university.