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Pattern Reconfigurable Antenna for Formation Flying Missions

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In this paper, an innovative compact pattern reconfigurable antenna is proposed and developed to establish an inter-satellite communication link between the Formation flying spacecraft. The reconfigurable beam switching antenna comprises a driven Monopole at the center, encompassed with four Reconfigurable Selective Reflectors (RSR) which act as RF radiators and reflectors for different switching conditions. PIN diodes are used to electronically control the switch states of RSR and beam switching is achieved with uniform gain along the azimuth plane without affecting the antenna’s overall performance. The peculiar demands of Formation Flying Mission (FFM) satellites such as small size and low power for communication system are resolved by the proposed technique where a single antenna with different patterns communicates with multiple satellites reducing the antenna space and power consumption.  Furthermore, it also offers a solution to the problem encountered in existing FFM antenna, like microstrip patch, which serves only one satellite at a time. The antenna is designed at 2.45GHz center frequency. Simulated results show good impedance matching and performance with 13 to 15% bandwidth and wide beamwidth. The experimental validation shows that the simulation results of the antenna agree well with the measured results.
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Formation Flying Mission (FFM); Inter-Satellite Link; Pattern Diversity; Reconfigurable Antenna; Reconfigurable Selective Reflector (RSR)

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