Sei sulla pagina 1di 2

An Italian Deep Space Antenna to Support Scientific Missions and Exploration

Antonio Salonico1, Massimo Pronti1, Elio Orano1, Ettore Perozzi1

Telespazio S.p.A. Via Tiburtina 965 00156 Rome Italy
+39 064079 3504,

Abstract. The number of space missions devoted to the exploration of the solar system and to performing
astronomical observations and fundamental physics experiments operating at the distance of the Moon and beyond is
steadily growing. The present scenario is highly focused on precursor missions to the Moon and Mars as a major
milestone in view of human exploration, while scientific missions are increasingly exploiting the collinear
lagrangian points, located at the boundary of the Earth gravitational domain, or slowly drifting heliocentric orbits.
Deep space ground facilities (DSN) must be developed accordingly in order to fulfill the consequent more stringent
scheduling for telecommunications and the higher data flux directed to and coming from the Earth.

The use of efficient data compression algorithms and the shift to higher transmission frequencies (from S-band to X
and Ka) has pointed out that antennas in the 26-34 meters range can cover most of the telecommunication needs
required by the future science and exploration scenario, in particular as far as the present/near-future plans of the
major space agencies for missions to the Moon are concerned. In order to make available additional DSN ground
stations while reducing the costs associated to the implementation of new systems, the idea to re-use existing large-
diameter antennas after an appropriate refurbishment appears attractive.

A detailed study for upgrading to DSN services some commercial 32m C-band antennas operated by Telespazio has
been therefore carried out. Within the framework of the ExoMars Phase-B1 study the proposed strategy has been
investigated in a realistic case, choosing the “Lario 2” antenna (shown in the figure below) at the Telespazio Lario
Earth Station located in northern Italy. The modifications of the radio-frequency devices as well as of the
mechanical parts have been outlined and quoted in terms of performances, cost and implementation scheduling.

The planned refurbishment include:

¾ the retrofit of the mechanical structure and servo and drive system
¾ the verification and realignment of the reflector panels surface
¾ a new X band Feed and RF chains
¾ a 20 KW Klystron Power Amplifier (KPA) system
¾ cryogenic Low Noise Amplifiers
¾ a Hydrogen Maser Frequency and Timing Reference
¾ Base Band system for Command, Ranging and Telemetry services

The study, which includes an analysis of the modified antenna structure, shows the technical feasibility of the
proposed retrofit, with an expected G/T of 48,95 dB/K and EIRP of 107 dBW.

The refurbished Deep Space antenna could represent a important Italian infrastructure in reinforcement of existing
and future Deep Space Networks for the several scientific mission which are planned at national and international

ILEWG 9 International Conference on Exploration and Utilization of the Moon,
FIGURE 1. The 32m reflector “Lario 2” antenna and a retrofit detail

The refurbishment feasibility study was performed under Thales Alenia Space Contract Number EXM/SC/FR-0579
"Complementing European Deep Space Communications in support to ExoMars"

E. Perozzi, L. Bruca, A. Coletta, R. Devoti, G. Di Genova, R. Ligi, C. Valente. Space Systems and Services for Planetary
Missions. In proc . 'Planetary Science: Second Italian Meeting’, A.Manara, P.Paolicchi, E. Dotto eds, 1999.
E. Perozzi, C.Valente, A. Coletta, E. Orano. Upgrade of Existing Large Diameter Antennas to Deep Space Communications.
Telespazio proposal N. PSC022140/PRO/01in response to the ESA ITT “Call for Exploration Technology Proposals”, 2002.
A.Coletta, S. Matarazzo, E. Perozzi, C. Valente. Telespazio as a possibile Operator in the frame of Interplanetary Missions.
In proc . 'Planetary Science: Fourth Italian Meeting, A.Manara and E. Dotto eds, 2002.
E. Flamini, E. Perozzi, A. Saitto, L. Bianchini. An Italian Contribution to Deep Space Communications. International Mars
Conference Abstracts, 2004.


Antonio Salonico is a program manager in the “scientific programs” business line. He has been working in
Telespazio since 1992, first as ground station engineer and then as a responsible of R&D and satellite navigation
European projects.

Massimo Pronti is a project manager in the ground station engineering department. He has been working in
Telespazio since 1967 and has been responsible for several ground station implementations.

ILEWG 9 International Conference on Exploration and Utilization of the Moon,