HISPASAT and Astrium present Europe's first active Ku-band antenna
October 17, 2013
This innovative antenna will enable the Hispasat AG1 satellite to change coverage in orbit to adapt more efficiently to customers' needs.
Hispasat AG1 is the first mission of the Small GEO platform, developed by OHB Systems (Germany) in partnership with the European Space Agency and HISPASAT.
HISPASAT, the Spanish satellite communications operator, today unveiled, along with Astrium España (EADS CASA Espacio), the DRA-ELSA reconfigurable antenna, the largest and most complex such antenna developed to date in Europe. This antenna will be installed in the Hispasat AG1 satellite and boasts four simultaneous beams in the Ku-band with state-of-the-art features, enabling the operator to optimise its service in the dynamic current communications market environment. The presentation ceremony was also attended by the Spanish Industrial Technology Development Centre (CDTI), which is co-financing the AG1 project.
The main advantage of this new antenna is that it enables the operator to adapt to potential changes in the mission after the satellite has been launched such as the incorporation of new customers, a change in orbital position, etc. This means that HISPASAT will enjoy maximum operational flexibility and be able to adapt its services to a host of new and different scenarios.
Thanks to this advanced and flexible antenna, the Hispasat AG1 satellite will have four beams that can be pointed at any Earth location, and it will be possible to modify both pointing and coverage throughout its useful life. This means that HISPASAT can adapt to the precise needs of every customer at any time by configuring the DAR-ELSA antenna from the ground control station. For this purpose a method has also been developed for regulating the antenna which provides the system with complete operational capacity. This antenna is also better insulated than other communications systems and against possible interference.
Hispasat AG1 is the first mission of the Small GEO platform, developed by OHB Systems (Germany) in partnership with the European Space Agency and HISPASAT. It incorporates the innovative REDSAT payload with a regenerative on-board processor (which encompasses the DRA-ELSA project), which will enable HISPASAT to use the satellite's capacity more flexibly and efficiently, significantly increasing transmission capacity with the consequent reduction in the cost of communications.
Hispasat AG1, which will be launched in 2015, will have a lift-off mass of 3.2 tonnes and will carry up to 20 transponders in the Ku-band and up to 3 in the Ka-band, as well as this new active antenna with reconfigurable beams. DRA-ELSA is the first active antenna manufactured in Europe to operate in the commercial market in the Ku-band.