Compact and Planar End-fire Antenna for PicoSat and CubeSat Platforms to Support Deployable Systems

Victoria Gomez-Guilliamon Buendia, Symon K. Podilchak, Salvatore Liberto, Tom Walkinshaw, Constantin Constantinides, Dimitris E. Anagnostou, George Goussetis, Maarten van der Vorst

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Abstract

A miniaturized planar Yagi-Uda antenna for integration with PicoSats or other SmallSat missions is proposed. Miniaturization techniques, such as meandering and 1-D artificial dielectric concepts to reduce the guided wavelength, are employed to overcome space constraints imposed by the SmallSat footprint while still maintaining good performance for the FR-4 antenna. Simulations and measurements have been carried out on the Unicorn-2 PicoSat chassis from Alba Orbital and are in good agreement. Also, antenna dimensions have been reduced between 15% and 66% when compared to a more conventional planar Yagi-Uda antenna working at the same frequency. This compactness allows for simple integration with the deployable solar panel array of the Unicorn-2 PicoSat spacecraft. Full end-fire radiation is achieved and peak gain values are about 5 dBi for the antenna when fully integrated on the satellite chassis, offering an attractive solution for downlink connectivity. This compact antenna design can also be used within an array for beam steering or integrated within the solar cell modules of other PicoSats, CubeSats and SmallSats. Applications include Earth observation, remote sensing, as well as SmallSat to ground station communications. The planar Yagi-Uda antenna may also be useful wherever end-fire radiation is required from a compact antenna structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1341-1350
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Open Journal of Antennas and Propagation
Volume3
Early online date8 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Antenna arrays
  • Antennas
  • Artificial Dielectrics
  • CubeSat
  • Deployable Systems
  • Photovoltaic cells
  • Planar Yagi-Uda
  • Solar Panel Arrays
  • Space vehicles
  • Substrates
  • Yagi-Uda antennas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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