ThinKom develops Q / V-band phased array antennas
ThinKom Solutions has developed a phased array user terminal specifically designed to operate in the higher millimeter wave (MMW) frequency bands for evolving next generation communications satellites.
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The low-profile antenna, which is based on VICTS (Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub) technology from ThinKom, is used in the Q and V band frequencies (37.5-42.5 GHz and 47.2 51, 4 GHz). These bands have been designated for adoption by major satellite operators in low, medium, geostationary and highly elliptical orbits (LEO, MEO, GEO and HEO).
“This new phased array development is timed to fully enable the upcoming frequency revolution that promises to unlock tremendous new bandwidth available for next-generation LEO and MEO satellite constellations at these higher MMW frequencies,” said Bill Milroy, Chairman and CTO of ThinKom Solutions.
Similar Q-band MMW antennas have already been built and tested by ThinKom for use in air and ground mobility in the Q-band.
“The new user terminals will include make-before-break (MbB) and break-before-make (BbM) connectivity options, depending on the needs of the application. The MbB terminals will support two simultaneous full duplex beams that can be directed independently at two different satellites, ”said Milroy. “The LEO and MEO satellites move quickly across the sky from horizon to horizon, so the multi-beam capability of the new ThinKom MbB terminal ensures uninterrupted service when switching between ascending and ascending satellites. It also allows multiple satellites or channels to be connected, either within the same or even across different constellations, doubling throughput capability. The antenna also supports full frequency and polarization diversity, which is another important factor in maximizing satellite throughput. “
The full duplex terminal from ThinKom is 75 cm square and less than 10 cm high, weighs less than 23 kg and requires less than 100 watts of primary power. According to the company, the terminal offers the same functionality as two separate, stabilized parabolic antenna radome housings with a diameter of 50 cm.
Milroy noted the difficulty of making usable electronically scanned arrays (ESAs) that can operate in these higher MMW bands, particularly in terms of space efficiency, packaging, power density, thermal management, and cost. He stated that the new antennas will offer spectral efficiency, low power consumption, high energy efficiency and low heat generation.