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Measurement of BepiColombo mission medium gain antenna parameters under realistic thermal conditions

  • Victor Sanchez (a1), Fernando Martin (a1), Aingeru Barrio (a1), Iñaki Pinto (a1), Rafael Garcia (a2), Manuel Sierra (a3), Leandro de Haro (a3), José Luis Besada (a3) and Belén Galocha (a3)...

Abstract

This paper is focused on explaining the radiation test in temperature performed on the Engineering and Qualification Model of the Medium Gain Antenna Radiofrequency (MGA-RFA) Assembly of ESA's BepiColombo mission. The goal of this program is to observe and study Mercury and its surroundings in a very demanding environment in terms of temperature and radiation. The MGA is an X-band two-axis steerable horn, which provides bidirectional communications between spacecraft and Earth as backup of the High Gain Antenna and also operates as primary communication link at several mission stages or conditions. The paper presents the measurement set-up for the qualification campaign of the antenna, where it was necessary to characterize the antenna in a representative thermal environment, and the results obtained from this test. Results of test up to 150°C show how gain and radiation pattern shapes are slightly affected by thermal stress, but without jeopardizing mission requirements. In addition, by analyzing correlation of this test with RF analysis in the same thermal conditions, it becomes possible to accurately extrapolate the MGA-RFA behavior up to temperatures of more than 500°C. This fact allowed the successful space qualification of this model.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Corresponding author: V. Sanchez Email: victor.sanchez@sener.es

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Deceased.

Footnotes

References

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[1] IEEE: IEEE Standards Test Procedures for Antennas, IEEE Standards 149-1979. John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey (US), 1979.
[2] Evans, G.E.: Antenna Measurement Techniques. Artech House Inc., Massachusetts (US), 1990.

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