Research and development towards lighter feed horns

Research and development towards lighter feed horns

Novel technologies will be characterized and space-qualified, with the ultimate objective of delivering lower mass feed horn antennas to the satellite manufacturers.

SENER owns a wide legacy in the design and manufacture of low mass global coverage horn antennas combining materials such as aluminium alloy and carbon fibre pieces. Since the launch of Inmarsat-3 back in 1996, more than 60 antennas using carbon fibre have been placed in orbit, delivered to all the main world-wide satellite manufacturers. 

This strong background experience is the ground on which we will attempt to go one step further, expanding the use of low mass composite materials to the corrugated horn antennas used to feed reflector antennas in low band communication satellite systems.

C band global coverage horn antenna, combining carbon fibre and aluminium alloy, during pattern test

The activity includes the manufacture and the mechanical & electrical validation of a qualification model of a Feed Horn Assembly in C band. The successful completion of this activity will validate the use in space of this novel manufacturing technology that is expected to represent a mass saving figure up to 30% with respect to feed horn antennas machined using traditional technologies.

 This research and development activity will be carried out under a program of the European Space Agency (ESA), as part of the Innovation Triangle Initiative (ITI), a program through which the ESA offers financing and support for bringing disruptive technologies into the space sector by combining the creativity, know-how and experience of academia, research centres and the space industry. SENER will work together with PROSIX Composite Engineering, a Spanish company that specializes in manufacturing engineering for composite materials.


Captions: C Band Feed Horn Antenna Assembly, in aluminium allow, during random vibration test & C band global coverage horn antenna, combining carbon fibre and aluminium alloy, during pattern test.

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