Space-borne communications platforms are restrictive on weight and mass as these are directly proportional to launch costs. As a result, the antennas are usually integrated on the platform as space available on an existing launch vehicle. The usual suspects are foldable high-gain dishes or extendable booms for C-band, VHF, UHF. What I am presenting a more natural design and approach space communications.
Usual analysis of dishes involves, using tools like GRASP or other MoM code which achieve a highly tuned product but parabolic antennas are highly susceptible to manufacturing tolerances which increase exponentially as the transmit/receive frequency increase linearly this is effect directly controls the cost function. This need not be the case. There are many objects on the satellite which are not utilized for antennas which can and should be to reduce mass, cost and complexity.
The deployed solar panels can be between 1 to 5 kW, the electrical area that these panels present for X-band or K-, Ku-band communications is on the order of hundred of wavelengths.
The back side of a solar wafer can be made to have a metallic layer or replace the current gallium arsenide layer with a switchable mems layer so
1A. many interstitial subarrays can be fabricated leading to extremely high gain phased array antenna
1A1. the phase of which can be tuned using DC power generated from the panel, even as panels track the sun, amplitude and phases can compensate.
1B. RF signal can also be routed on the metallic structure with minimal loss of solar panel efficiency and easily demuxed from DC
1C. control lines for each array and sub-array can also be routed
2A this removes the need for parabolic dishes, cost, mass, better performance
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