Sei sulla pagina 1di 15

Protecting satellite antennas from lightning

Posted: 16

Jan 2007

Print Version

Subscribe

Keywords: lightning damage on satellite antenna antenna design and selection communication satellite for service broadcast Richard Renard LNB architecture Communication satellites operate within two frequency bands for TV/broadband service broadcast signals, C and Ku bands. The C band overall frequency spectrum is 4-8GHz, while the Ku band overall frequency spectrum is 10.7-18.4GHz. Within these bands, each satellite has a specific uplink and downlink frequency allocation. The C band downlink frequency is 3.7-4.2GHz, while uplink frequency is 5.925-6.425GHz. The Ku band downlink frequency is 10.7-12.75GHz, while uplink frequency is 17.3-17.8GHz. To use frequencies that are available for satellite broadcast as efficiently as possible and to accommodate additional channels within a given frequency band, the transmission signal can be formatted to be either vertical and horizontal, or circular right-hand and circular left-hand simultaneously per frequency. Designers of protection circuitry must ensure that this functionality is not compromised in any way. A low-noise block (LNB) is a module placed on the focus of the satellite dish antenna (parabola). An LNB provides the following functions:

Down-Conversion of the incoming signal from gigahertz range to the 910-2,150MHz (for Europe) range called "first conversion signal"?This conversion allows the signal to be carried by an inexpensive coaxial cable towards the receiver;

Signal amplification with good noise figure?The LNB improves the first conversion signal level by using a built-in low-noise amplifier; Selection of vertical or horizontal polarisation; Selection of operating band by switching its internal oscillator from low band to high band when the LNB "receives" a 22kHz tone?Specifically, the local oscillator (LO) frequency changes from 9.75GHz to 10.6GHz (C Band-LO frequency 9.75GHz, Ku band-LO frequency 10.6GHz);

Miscellaneous functions based on 22kHz tone pulse-position modulation (PPM) encoding.

Polarisation gives a specific direction to a transmission signal and increases the beam concentration. The signal transmitted by satellite can be polarised in different ways: linear (horizontal or vertical) or circular (right-hand or left-hand). Consequently, the satellite can broadcast both horizontal and vertical or left-hand and right-hand polarised signals on one frequency. The "universal" LNB switches polarisation by looking at the voltage that it receives from the receiver. Generally, only two signals, 13V and 18V, are used with one type of antenna. The 13V signal (11.514V range) uses vertical polarisation or right-hand circular polarisation. The 18V signal (15.5-21V range) uses horizontal polarisation or left-hand circular polarisation. Also, 1V can be added from a receiver to any of these voltages to compensate for the voltage drop in the coaxial cable. DiSEqC encoding Besides selecting the polarisation, the LNB must select the operating band. Each reception band is divided into two bands: low (10.7-11.7GHz) and high (11.7-12.75GHz). Selecting the operating band is done by using a 22kHz tone frequency. A 22kHz PPM signal, amplitude approximately 0.6V, is superimposed on the LNB DC power rail. Its coding scheme allows the remote electronics to perform more complex functions. Traditionally, when other encoding functions do not require the 22kHz tone, simple presence or absence of this tone selects the operating band by changing the local oscillator frequency of the LNB. The complex encoding of the 22kHz burst is accomplished with a more sophisticated communication bus protocol called Digital Satellite Equipment Control (DiSEqC) standard. The open DiSEqC standard developed by the European Telecommunication Satellite Organisation is a well-accepted worldwide standard for communication between satellite receivers and satellite peripheral equipment. The 22kHz oscillator must be a tone generator with specific rise and fall time. The wave shape will be a quasi-square wave (sine with flat-top). The required frequency tolerance is 2kHz over line and temperature variations (Table 1). The LNB is remotely powered from the satellite receiver STB. The same coaxial cable that carries an IF signal from the LNB to the receiver carries power from the receiver to the LNB. A dedicated IC, an LNB voltage regulator, generates the 13-18V DC. This device can be damaged by any lightning strike on the coaxial cable or the antenna, which can generate high current, high-voltage surge at the voltage regulator. This surge can be simulated according to the IEC 61000-4-5 standard: Consider tr/tf = 8/20?s; Vpp = 36kV; R = 12; and Ipp = 250-500A.

In case of lightning events, the current surge at the LNB voltage regulator inputs ranges from 250A (when 3kV is applied) to 500A (when 6kV is applied). This IC cannot withstand such high-value energy. To comply with the IEC regulation and to protect the LNB voltage regulator IC against any damage from lightning events, a dedicated and optimised protection device is required in front of the voltage regulator. Segmented approach Look for a solution based on a segmented approach to provide the most suitable protection device relative to the various LNB voltage regulator absolute maximum ratings capabilities. Depending on the LNB voltage regulator used in the application and on the applied lightning surge test level, a different solution may have to be implemented to optimise the total solution's cost and robustness. The important considerations in the selected solution are the following: 3-, 4- or 6kV protection (8/20? s), axial or SMD package, low Vf, low clamping factor, fast response time, and UL-recognised. - Richard Renard Product Marketing Engineer, ASD & IPAD Division STMicroelectronics

Home Antennas & propagation Broadcast technology Cellular telecoms Circuits & modules Design principles Electronic components Electronics manufacture Formulae & data Power management Radio receivers RF topics Satellite technology Technology history Telecoms & networks Test & measurement Wireless technology News Bookshop Events & exhibitions Jobs

An L-Band Phased Array for Satellite Communications


J.M. Andrs
CASA (E)

P. de Maagt
Electromagnetics Division, ESTEC

H. Palacios
INTA (E)

J.Vassalilo
INTA/CSIC (E)

E. Rammos
Communications Satellite Systems Division, ESTEC

Rsum
Une antenne plate a t conue pour les futures tlcommunications mobiles par satellite en bande L. Elle se caractrise par une faible ellipticit, un faible niveau de produits d'intermodulation passive, une faible contre-polarisation et l'absence de dcharges auto-entretenues. Un modle lectriquement et mcaniquement reprsentatif, comportant sept sous-rseaux d'antenne, a t fabriqu et test.

Contractors: CASA (E), CSIC (E), INTA (E). Funding: Advanced Systems Technology Programme No.4

Introduction
Some years ago an activity was started at CASA to develop array antenna technology, compatible with flexible, multibeam antenna systems which could meet the

requirements of L-band mobile communications missions. Array sizes in the range of 2.5 to 3.5 metres, with a total radio frequency power capability of 350 to 500 W were foreseen for such missions. The likely passive intermodulation requirements of a typical mission were taken into account in the specifications in order to give added value to the technology. This led to the design and manufacture of an elegant model of a planar antenna for satellite communications at L-band. The electromagnetic design focused on the following points: high efficiency; low cross polar; circular polarisation with low axial ratio over the operational bandwidth; low PIMs (passive intermodulation products); multipaction-free design.

The complete antenna is compatible with the 2.7 metre fairing of a Delta launcher. A hexagonal lattice of 240 radiators spaced at 0.8 of a wavelength is used, as it gives optimum efficiency to slotted radiators implemented on low permittivity substrates. Groups of three radiators are arranged to form subarrays and the subarrays are placed in a triangular lattice. Subarray spacing has been selected to avoid the formation of grating lobes on the Earth when the beam is scanned within 11, typical of Earth coverage from geostationary orbit. The subarray input is a contactless coaxial transition, needed to reduce PIMs to the low level demanded by the requirements specification.

Radiator
The radiator selected for this application is a resonant patch, embedded on a feeding stripline structure. The stripline is suspended in air to reduce dielectric losses as much as possible. Lateral electric walls, which do not have a major impact on the fields distribution in the radiator, are designed around the elementary radiators to avoid propagation of spurious modes.

Only one input per radiator is needed to create circular polarisation using perturbation techniques in the individual patches. Sequential rotation was implemented in the subarrays to meet the circular polarisation requirement of 1 dB axial ratio over the entire frequency band. This was achieved by displacing the radiators by 120 degrees with respect to each other and feeding them with a phase difference of 120 degrees. The radiator structure was made of aluminium, while the feed lines were printed on a thin composite fibre dielectric layer. Coupling probes and the 1-to-3 power dividers were printed on the same layer. The subarray feed network input consists of a coaxial transition through the rear ground plane which is capacitively coupled to the suspended stripline. A theoretical model of the connector,

allowing analysis of the radiator's impedance, and also a connector model have been developed, based on measured data.

Power handling analysis


A design with low of PIMs and free of multipaction was achieved through: contactless feeding; avoiding contacts between dissimilar materials; maintaining a low current density at critical contact areas; use of highly conductive metals; a design with low thermal stresses and low thermal expansion; proper product assurance control (materials, finishing, processes).

Tests for the presence of PIMs were performed at various temperatures ( 220 C) demonstrating less than -135 dBm ninth order passive intermodulation levels for 2 x 15 W carrier excitation.

Subarray performance
An elegant model of seven identical subarrays has been manufactured and tested (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The elegant model antenna. The measurements of the central embedded subarray, and the main characteristics of the sevenelement antenna array are shown in Table 1 and Figures 2(a) and (b). Table 1. Antenna characteristics.
Mass per subarray Antenna equivalent mass less than 200 gr. less than 5 Kg/m

Technology

Aluminium radiators Composite fibre printed feed circuit N-type standard connector

Environmental testing

thermal cycling quasistatic load stiffness

-100 to +100 C 15 g first mode above 90 Hz.

Power handling multipaction ninth order radiating PIM seventh order reflected PIM

tested up to 60 W <-135 dBm (100 C two 15 W carriers) <-110 dBm (100 C two 15 W carriers)

Electrical performance (embedded subarray)

frequency band polarisation gain on-axis axial ratio return loss power handling mutual coupling between arrays

1.452 to 1.492 GHz RHCP 12.4 dB 1 dB <-20 dB up to 30 W <-40 dB

Figure 2. The radiation pattern of the central subarray at its central frequency of 1.472 GHz, (a) the co-polar pattern and (b) the cross-polar pattern.

Conclusion
An L-band array antenna model (consisting of seven subarrays) has been manufactured and tested. It offers high efficiency, low cross-polarisation and has low PIMs and is multipaction free at typical payload power levels. The design uses space qualified materials and processes and is suitable for applications in low Earth-orbit and geostationary orbit. It is compatible with flexible, multibeam antenna systems capable of meeting the requirements of future communications missions. About | Search | Feedback

Preparing for the Future Vol. 8 No. 2 Published June 1998 About us Privacy Policy Advertise with us

Navigation:: Home >> Satellite technology >> this page Sa Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to our news feed

Home Antennas & propagation Broadcast technology Cellular telecoms Circuits & modules Design principles Electronic components Electronics manufacture Formulae & data Power management Radio receivers RF topics Satellite technology Technology history Telecoms & networks Test & measurement Wireless technology News Bookshop Events & exhibitions Jobs About us Privacy Policy Advertise with us

Navigation:: Home >> Satellite technology >> this page

Satellite design and construction

- the elements that need to be considered for satellite design and construction, and satellite systems design and other factors relating to the design of a satellite.

Satellite design and construction is a particularly specialised business. The requirements for satellites are very stringent and satellites must be capable of operating in extreme conditions whilst still maintaining the highest standards of reliability because they cannot be retrieved for maintenance or repair. Apart from the general factors relating to satellite design, the circuitry required for their operation such as the transmitters and receivers, satellites also contain a number of systems used for what is called station keeping. All of these functions, whether for performing the primary role of the satellite, or for ensuring that it reliably maintains its position and function are all important and must be included in the design of the satellite.

Satellite position maintenance


Satellites need to be kept in the correct position. Although they may be placed in exactly the correct orbit after they are launched, the variations in the Earth's gravitational field and other factors may cause them to drift out of their correct position. As a result it is necessary to reposition them periodically. Small thrusters are used to perform this operation. Often they consist of canisters of a gas which when released with a catalyst gives a form of rocket propulsion to move the satellite back on station. Often the service life of a satellite is determined by the amount of fuel for repositioning the satellite rather than the reliability of the electronics. The other problem with a satellite is that its attitude will change. This is of great importance because directive antennas or cameras are often used, and the satellite needs to be orientated in the correct direction for them. The basic method of gaining the correct orientation is to use the thrusters. However the attitude will change comparatively quickly. The most common method to overcome this is to use the gyroscopic effect. Sometimes a large flywheel may be made to spin inside the satellite. This can be inefficient in its use of the weight of the satellite. To overcome this other cylindrical satellites actually rotate a portion of the body, often an inner cylindrical section so that the antennas mounted on the outer section do not revolve.

Satellite power
Electrical power is also required by the satellite for its electronic circuitry and other electrical systems. Although the power requirements for some satellites may be relatively modest, this is certainly not the case for satellites such as direct broadcast (DBS) or satellite television

broadcasting satellites. Although they do not transmit the same levels of power that are used for terrestrial broadcasting, they still consume considerable amounts of power. The power is supplied by the large arrays of photo or solar cells. Some cylindrical satellites have them positioned around the outer area on the cylinder so that some part of the body is always exposed to sunlight. Others have large extending panels that are orientated to collect the maximum amount of light. Today these panels are capable of producing the many kilowatts of power required for the high power output stages used in many transponders. Batteries are also needed for the periods when the satellite is in darkness. These need to charged by the solar cells so that when the satellite passes out of the sunlight it can still remain operational. This naturally places an additional burden on the solar cells because they need to be able to power not only the satellite itself, but also charge the batteries. This may double the power they have to supply during periods of sunlight.

Satellite antennas
The antennas used on satellites are particularly important. They are the only means through which communication can take place with the ground. For geostationary satellites directional antennas are generally used. These are used because power consumption on the satellite has to be minimised wherever possible. Directional antennas provide gain and enable the best use to be made of the available transmitted power. Additionally they enable the signals from the earth to be received with the best signal to noise ratio. In view of the long path lengths required for geostationary satellites, there is a considerable path loss and the antenna gain is used to improve the received signal strength. It also helps reduce the reception of solar and cosmic noise that would further degrade the received signal. In a geostationary orbit the earth subtends only 18 degrees of arc. Any power not falling into this area is wasted. As a result, parabolic reflector or "dish" antennas are widely used. Horn antennas are also popular and in some cases phased arrays may be employed, especially where coverage of a specific area of the globe is required. However the use of directional antennas does mean that the orientation of the antenna is crucial, and any perturbation of the alignment of the satellite can have a major effect on its operation, both in reception and transmission. The situation is different for low earth orbit or LEO satellites. These satellites are not in geostationary orbit and they move across the sky. Additionally they may need to be received by several users at any time and this means that they cannot use directive antennas. Additionally the earth subtends around half the celestial sphere and as a result users may be separated by angles ranging from zero to almost 180 degrees. Fortunately the satellites are much closer to the earth and path losses are very significantly less, reducing the need to high gain antennas.

Environmental

The environment in which satellites operate is particularly harsh. Combined with the need for exceedingly high levels of reliability resulting from the near impossible task of repair, this means that every detail of the design and operation under these conditions must be carefully considered. In the first instance the temperatures range over very wide extremes. The surfaces exposed to the sun are heated by solar radiation and will rise to very high temperatures, whereas the other side that is not heated will be exceedingly cold. Only conduction will give any heating effect under these circumstances. The temperature of the whole of the satellite will also fall when it is in darkness. There are a number of other effects that must be considered. Solar radiation itself has an effect on some materials, causing them to degrade. Notice must also be taken of meteorites. Very small ones cause the surfaces to be eroded slightly, but larger ones may penetrate the body of the satellite causing significant damage. To overcome this satellites are protected by specially designed outer layers. These consist of sheets of metal which are slightly separated giving a cushioning effect when any meteorites impact on the satellite. Cosmic particles also degrade the performance of satellites. Particularly during solar flares the increase in solar particle flow can degrade solar cells, reducing their efficiency.

Ground stations
Ground stations also need an effective antenna system. For communication with satellites in geostationary orbit the antenna remains fixed, except if there is a need to change to another satellite. Accordingly parabolic reflectors are often used. This can be seen from the number of satellite TV antennas that are in use. These are a form of parabolic reflector. This type of antenna is widely sued for example with direct broadcast satellite TV. The antennas seen on the sides of houses are almost exclusively parabolic reflectors. However it is possible to use other types such as arrays of Yagi antennas. Here they are stacked (one on top of the other) and bayed (side bay side) to give additional gain. For some low earth orbit satellites the ground station antenna systems are designed to be able to track the satellite in azimuth and elevation. This is typically achieved by automatically tracking the satellite as it moves across the sky. This is normally achieved by taking a signal level output from the receiver. By ensuring that it is maintained at its peak level the satellite will be tracked. Many low earth orbit satellites are required for systems such as positioning or even telephone style communications. Here directional antennas are not used as the user will not want to re-orientate the antenna all the time. Instead almost non-directional antennas are used and the transmitter powers and receiver sensitivities designed to give a sufficient level of signal to noise ratio. This is the case for GPS where several satellites need to be received at the same time. Accordingly receivers are designed to accommodate the very low signal levels.

Satellite design summary

Satellites are in everyday use around the globe. Not only are functions such as GPS widely used, but so are many other forms of satellite including communications satellites, weather satellites, geophysical satellites and many forms of satellites. Without them, our lives would be very different, and we have come to rely on them. Accordingly their design must be made to be very reliable as they are not easy to repair, even if it is viable - which is normally not the case, and they operate under extremely harsh conditions. Accordingly the design of a satellite is critical. The satellite design specifications need to be totally correct, and the basic satellite design needs to take all aspects into consideration, making any satellite design project particularly exacting. However if correct, the satellite will normally be able to give many years of service and pay for the large investment in the satellite design and construction.

- the elements that need to be considered for satellite design and construction, and satellite systems design and other factors relating to the design of a satellite.

Satellite design and construction is a particularly specialised business. The requirements for satellites are very stringent and satellites must be capable of operating in extreme conditions whilst still maintaining the highest standards of reliability because they cannot be retrieved for maintenance or repair. Apart from the general factors relating to satellite design, the circuitry required for their operation such as the transmitters and receivers, satellites also contain a number of systems used for what is called station keeping. All of these functions, whether for performing the primary role of the satellite, or for ensuring that it reliably maintains its position and function are all important and must be included in the design of the satellite.

Satellite position maintenance


Satellites need to be kept in the correct position. Although they may be placed in exactly the correct orbit after they are launched, the variations in the Earth's gravitational field and other factors may cause them to drift out of their correct position. As a result it is necessary to reposition them periodically. Small thrusters are used to perform this operation. Often they consist of canisters of a gas which when released with a catalyst gives a form of rocket propulsion to move the satellite back on station. Often the service life of a satellite is determined by the amount of fuel for repositioning the satellite rather than the reliability of the electronics. The other problem with a satellite is that its attitude will change. This is of great importance because directive antennas or cameras are often used, and the satellite needs to be orientated in the correct direction for them. The basic method of gaining the correct orientation is to use the thrusters. However the attitude will change comparatively quickly. The most common method to overcome this is to use the gyroscopic effect. Sometimes a large flywheel may be made to spin inside the satellite. This can be inefficient in its use of the weight of the satellite. To overcome this

other cylindrical satellites actually rotate a portion of the body, often an inner cylindrical section so that the antennas mounted on the outer section do not revolve.

Satellite power
Electrical power is also required by the satellite for its electronic circuitry and other electrical systems. Although the power requirements for some satellites may be relatively modest, this is certainly not the case for satellites such as direct broadcast (DBS) or satellite television broadcasting satellites. Although they do not transmit the same levels of power that are used for terrestrial broadcasting, they still consume considerable amounts of power. The power is supplied by the large arrays of photo or solar cells. Some cylindrical satellites have them positioned around the outer area on the cylinder so that some part of the body is always exposed to sunlight. Others have large extending panels that are orientated to collect the maximum amount of light. Today these panels are capable of producing the many kilowatts of power required for the high power output stages used in many transponders. Batteries are also needed for the periods when the satellite is in darkness. These need to charged by the solar cells so that when the satellite passes out of the sunlight it can still remain operational. This naturally places an additional burden on the solar cells because they need to be able to power not only the satellite itself, but also charge the batteries. This may double the power they have to supply during periods of sunlight.

Satellite antennas
The antennas used on satellites are particularly important. They are the only means through which communication can take place with the ground. For geostationary satellites directional antennas are generally used. These are used because power consumption on the satellite has to be minimised wherever possible. Directional antennas provide gain and enable the best use to be made of the available transmitted power. Additionally they enable the signals from the earth to be received with the best signal to noise ratio. In view of the long path lengths required for geostationary satellites, there is a considerable path loss and the antenna gain is used to improve the received signal strength. It also helps reduce the reception of solar and cosmic noise that would further degrade the received signal. In a geostationary orbit the earth subtends only 18 degrees of arc. Any power not falling into this area is wasted. As a result, parabolic reflector or "dish" antennas are widely used. Horn antennas are also popular and in some cases phased arrays may be employed, especially where coverage of a specific area of the globe is required. However the use of directional antennas does mean that the orientation of the antenna is crucial, and any perturbation of the alignment of the satellite can have a major effect on its operation, both in reception and transmission.

The situation is different for low earth orbit or LEO satellites. These satellites are not in geostationary orbit and they move across the sky. Additionally they may need to be received by several users at any time and this means that they cannot use directive antennas. Additionally the earth subtends around half the celestial sphere and as a result users may be separated by angles ranging from zero to almost 180 degrees. Fortunately the satellites are much closer to the earth and path losses are very significantly less, reducing the need to high gain antennas.

Environmental
The environment in which satellites operate is particularly harsh. Combined with the need for exceedingly high levels of reliability resulting from the near impossible task of repair, this means that every detail of the design and operation under these conditions must be carefully considered. In the first instance the temperatures range over very wide extremes. The surfaces exposed to the sun are heated by solar radiation and will rise to very high temperatures, whereas the other side that is not heated will be exceedingly cold. Only conduction will give any heating effect under these circumstances. The temperature of the whole of the satellite will also fall when it is in darkness. There are a number of other effects that must be considered. Solar radiation itself has an effect on some materials, causing them to degrade. Notice must also be taken of meteorites. Very small ones cause the surfaces to be eroded slightly, but larger ones may penetrate the body of the satellite causing significant damage. To overcome this satellites are protected by specially designed outer layers. These consist of sheets of metal which are slightly separated giving a cushioning effect when any meteorites impact on the satellite. Cosmic particles also degrade the performance of satellites. Particularly during solar flares the increase in solar particle flow can degrade solar cells, reducing their efficiency.

Ground stations
Ground stations also need an effective antenna system. For communication with satellites in geostationary orbit the antenna remains fixed, except if there is a need to change to another satellite. Accordingly parabolic reflectors are often used. This can be seen from the number of satellite TV antennas that are in use. These are a form of parabolic reflector. This type of antenna is widely sued for example with direct broadcast satellite TV. The antennas seen on the sides of houses are almost exclusively parabolic reflectors. However it is possible to use other types such as arrays of Yagi antennas. Here they are stacked (one on top of the other) and bayed (side bay side) to give additional gain. For some low earth orbit satellites the ground station antenna systems are designed to be able to track the satellite in azimuth and elevation. This is typically achieved by automatically tracking the satellite as it moves across the sky. This is normally achieved by taking a signal level output from

the receiver. By ensuring that it is maintained at its peak level the satellite will be tracked. Many low earth orbit satellites are required for systems such as positioning or even telephone style communications. Here directional antennas are not used as the user will not want to re-orientate the antenna all the time. Instead almost non-directional antennas are used and the transmitter powers and receiver sensitivities designed to give a sufficient level of signal to noise ratio. This is the case for GPS where several satellites need to be received at the same time. Accordingly receivers are designed to accommodate the very low signal levels.

Satellite design summary


Satellites are in everyday use around the globe. Not only are functions such as GPS widely used, but so are many other forms of satellite including communications satellites, weather satellites, geophysical satellites and many forms of satellites. Without them, our lives would be very different, and we have come to rely on them. Accordingly their design must be made to be very reliable as they are not easy to repair, even if it is viable - which is normally not the case, and they operate under extremely harsh conditions. Accordingly the design of a satellite is critical. The satellite design specifications need to be totally correct, and the basic satellite design needs to take all aspects into consideration, making any satellite design project particularly exacting. However if correct, the satellite will normally be able to give many years of service and pay for