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IDS Achieves Success In ESA Biomass Mission Antenna Tests

Our Bureau - : Jul 8, 2022 - : 6:49 pm

Fincantieri NexTech’s subsidiary IDS (Ingegneria Dei Sistemi) together with C-CORE, have been selected to develop and install the P-band Biomass Calibration Transponder (BCT) in New Norcia, Australia. This activity is part of the contract awarded to Airbus Defence and Space Ltd. by the European Space Agency (ESA) to build its Biomass satellite for the next Earth Explorer mission.

The ESA Biomass mission will provide crucial information about the state of our forests and how they are changing. The data will be used to better understand the role of forests in the carbon cycle. Biomass will also provide essential support to the UN on the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

The calibration transponder will receive signals from the satellite and transmit a reference signal to ensure the accurate calibration of the first space-borne P-band synthetic aperture radar in order to deliver exceptionally accurate maps of tropical, temperate, and boreal forest biomass, not obtainable by ground measurement techniques. 

The BCT antenna, in charge of IDS, has been set up as a passive dual-linear polarized planar array by assembling four antenna segments and responds to a number of challenging RF requirements in terms of Gain, SLL, XPD, channels imbalance, electrical boresight stability, and others. In addition, the feature of the antenna to be large-sized but lightweight (about 5 m in diameter and weighing around 600 kg) has dramatically increased the challenges in complying with the RF requirements while maintaining accurate manufacturing, modularity, reliability, and maneuverability.

This was the most demanding multi-disciplinary antenna design and development activity ever faced in IDS, requiring tight collaboration among electromagnetic, mechanical, measurement, and logistic functions and severe program control.

The BCT antenna has been measured in the ESA HERTZ facility between March and April 2022, with results that showed the required performances have been successfully verified.


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