ELECTRONICALLY STEERABLE ANTENNAS FOR SPACECRAFT-TO-SPACE-CRAFT COMMUNICATIONS

Dennis L. Backus

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: This paper presents several electronically steerable antenna techniques, which for frequencies from 1 to 35 gc, show promise for application to spacecraft-tospacecraft communications. It is indicated that such antennas can be realistically designed to provide maximum atenna gain for given weight, maximum bandwidth, and the capability of illuminating only desired spacial areas. Moreover, by incorporating self-tracking capability into the antenna, spacecraft stabilization requirements can be relaxed even to the extent that high gain inertialess antenna systems with omnidirectional response are possible, in the case of unstabilized vehicles. Selected beam forming techniques are presented, and it is shown that many steerable antenna designs are derived from these basic techniques. An examination of the circuitry required to implement the design is utilized to prove that the antenna is no longer solely an input or output to a given system but becomes now an inseparable part of the system. Basic problem areas of beam forming, self-tracking, and scanning are outlined. Moreover, low loss stripline componentry is presently available to construct real systems. Several promising techniques, namely, the retrodirective and the transdirective, are applied to spacecraft-to-spacecraft and venus-spacecraft-earth communications links. System parameters are listed which show that increased performance and flexibility can be attained.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 12, Number 3
Pages: 227 - 251
Cite this article: Backus, Dennis L., "ELECTRONICALLY STEERABLE ANTENNAS FOR SPACECRAFT-TO-SPACE-CRAFT COMMUNICATIONS", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 12, No. 3, Fall 1965, pp. 227-251.
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