Harris Intros New Spaceborne Antenna Reflector

Harris Corporation, an international communications and information technology company, has introduced the first-ever fixed-mesh antenna reflector that supports emerging requirements for high-throughput, high-reliability Ka-band and higher frequency satellites.

The solution is ideal for satellite Internet, HDTV and cellular backhaul providers, and businesses that transfer large amounts of data between remote locations, such as oil and gas companies and maritime users.

The fixed-mesh reflector design significantly lowers the antenna’s mass for a given aperture size as compared to traditional solid reflectors. The lower mass is made possible by incorporating a flight-proven mesh surface instead of a traditional solid reflector membrane surface. Other benefits and features include:

  • The new design is not sensitive to acoustic loading during launch, which reduces the overall structure and mass of the satellite.
  • The reflector greatly increases the gain and potential spot beams available to satellite manufacturers and service providers. The increased frequency reuse provided by additional spot beams enables higher data rates required by providers of bandwidth-hungry services.
  • The reflector features flight-proven design elements refined during development and production for U.S. government and commercial programs, including the application of reflective mesh; unique, high-accuracy surface-shaping technology; and thermally stable materials. The highly reflective mesh surface provides excellent RF reflectivity without exotic surface treatments required for high-frequency solid reflectors.
  • The antenna reflector’s projected aperture ranges from 2.6 to 3.5 meters in diameter, with a compact stowed configuration suitable for most launch vehicles. Its mass is half that of conventional solid reflector technology, which greatly increases potential mission performance compared to currently employed technologies.

“This new fixed-mesh antenna reflector is a natural extension of our existing offerings and addresses the emerging need for larger apertures at a fraction of the mass and weight of conventional solid reflectors,” said Sheldon Fox, group president, Harris Government Communications Systems. “Harris has a 35-year legacy of providing high-performance antenna solutions with unmatched performance, and this solution supports the ever-increasing global demand for higher bandwidth capacity.”

With more than 50 antenna reflectors in orbit, Harris is the leading supplier of large reflector apertures and unfurlable mesh reflector antenna systems for all orbital regimes. The company’s offerings span UHF band through Ka band, in sizes ranging from 2.6 meters to the world’s largest commercially available 22-meter reflector. Harris reflector products have the highest surface accuracy design in the industry, while substantially exceeding the specified mean mission duration of the spacecraft and payload.

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