Compact, Light and Reliable Under Extreme Conditions
ThinKom Solutions announced a new range of proven Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub (VICTS) phased-array antennas on 17 August, for deployment on satellites and spacecraft.
The multi-frequency full-duplex antennas are designed for operation on geostationary and non-geostationary satellites using C-, X-, Ku-, Ka-, Q-, V-, E- and W-band frequencies. They can provide steerable high-capacity inter-satellite links, as well as space-to-earth and earth-to-space feeder and user links.
The new ThinKom payload antennas are compact and lightweight, with a 30cm diameter antenna at under 5kg in weight. They can be nested for multi-beam applications without the blockages that can occur with multiple parabolic dish arrays. They can also support digital beam-forming within regional user beams.
The aluminium structure and space-compatible components mean the antennas function reliably under extreme conditions of radiation, shock, vibration and temperature. The compact highly reliable conformal arrays do not require any post-launch deployment mechanisms, eliminating the added weight and complexity of traditional satellite antenna systems.
The high-efficiency VICTS antenna architecture enables a smaller mounting size and volume for a given level of performance, as well as lower inertia than traditional satellite designs. The result is extremely low power consumption, a critical requirement for space applications.
Other key features include 80° scan angle coverage, wide instantaneous channel bandwidth up to 2GHz, polarisation diversity, low sidelobe emissions and continuous jitterless high-agility scanning.
“For space-based applications, long-term dependable and maintenance-free performance is a no-compromise requirement,” explained Bill Milroy, Chairman and Chief Technology Officer of ThinKom Solutions. “Our highly reliable VICTS platform has been thoroughly field-proven, with thousands of units already deployed in aero, land and maritime mobile environments, across more than 23 million cumulative hours of service […] We believe our space payload antennas hit the ‘sweet spot’ between the bulkier and heavier gimbaled dish antennas, with their deployment and kinematic complexities, and the less efficient power-hungry electronically steered arrays (ESAs) […] A 30cm VICTS antenna only requires a small fraction of the power and area required for a comparable performing ESA.”