SpaceSys was awarded a contract to develop the Satellite Antenna of the S-Band SOTM (Satcom On-The-Move) System, under the European Space Agency (ESA) ARTES 5.2 Technology Demonstrator Program. So we built a new generation Autonomous Antenna (A²). The objective was to develop a SOTM terminal that was suitable for S-Band SATCOM operation, and would allow ESA to investigate, demonstrate and examine its potential as a critical system to achieve nearly instantaneous pointing acquisition, even in harsh environmental conditions. The low profile design makes it easy to integrate the Autonomous Antenna (A²) into ground/sea vehicles.
A² is equipped with six S-Band antennas. Only the antenna currently pointing to the Satellite is activated but no active Satellite Tracking operation is performed, drastically reducing the acquisition time. The A² Navigation Micro Controller continuously performs the navigational computation to immediately acquire the Satellite. The European Space Agency successfully field-tested the Smart S-Band satellite antenna.
Since A² does not require any electromechanical component the maintenance costs are significantly reduced. However when very low weight and minimum size are critical factors, a secondary configuration is advised, the Advanced Autonomous Antenna (A³), where only one S-Band small antenna is needed; in this case, A³ Navigation Micro Controller can be exploited to drive 2 highly reliable robotic actuators and perform a precise satellite pointing. Again, no active Satellite Tracking operation is performed.