BEPICOLOMBO. Medium Gain Antenna Subsystem and High Gain Antenna Pointing Assembly (MGAMA and HGA APA)

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Test en la ESA BepiColombo Medium Gain Antenna Main Assembly Bepicolombo
Test en la ESA
Medium Gain Antenna Main Assembly
  • Client: TAS-I / ESA
  • Country: Spain
  • Start date: 2009
  • Ending date: 2018
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The main objective of the project is to design, manufacture, integrate and test the Medium Gain Antenna Major Assembly (MGAMA) and High Gain Antenna Pointing Assembly (HGA-APA) of the Mercury Planetary Orbiter communications system, which are necessary to guarantee communications between the satellite and the Earth, as well as for the Radio-Science Experiment that is part of the mission's payload.

  • The MGAMA includes:
  • Antenna
  • Deployable boom with waveguides inside
  • Pointing mechanism with two-axis rotary joints and position sensor
  • Hold-down and release mechanisms
  • Drive electronics
  • Thermal control hardware
  • The HGA-APA includes:
  • A twin-axis pointing mechanism with rotary joints and positioning sensor
  • Attachment and release mechanisms
  • Actuation electronics
  • Thermal control 

The development plan includes the structural/thermal (STM), qualification (EQM) and flight (PFM) models, besides a pre-qualification phase of technology/components whose operation at the required temperatures has not been demonstrated.

  • Characteristics:
  • The high gain antenna pointing mechanism operates on dual X and Ka band. For the X band it operates between 7.145 GHz and 7.19 GHz in uplink and 8.4 and 8.45 GHz in downlink.
  • For the Ka band, the unit operates between 31.8 and 32.3 GHz in downlink and between 34.2 and 34.46 GHz in uplink. The pointing error is better than 55 arc-seconds, whereas the positioning error for one second is 16 arc-seconds.
  • The antenna is capable of transmitting 18 W on the Ka band and 30 W on the X band with a 3-mm phase stability (“two way”) in Ka/Ka in 1000 seconds.
  • The medium gain antenna operates at temperatures of up to 350°C and has a specifically dedicated thermal insulation designed for the mission. The pointing mechanism operates at very low temperatures during the satellite's cruise phase and at temperatures of above 250°C in the science phase while it is orbiting Mercury. 
  • All flight Hardware has been delivered to PRIME contractor and the spacecraft is under final launch campaign.

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