Development of cubesat antenna systems for ionospheric sounding

Kirkby, Graham (2019). Development of cubesat antenna systems for ionospheric sounding. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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There are many uses for space based VHF/UHF synthetic aperture radar (SAR) systems; however, there are significant obstacles which must be addressed to develop operational systems. One of these is the impact of the ionosphere on the relatively low frequency radar signal. To aid the design of future SAR satellites, the ionospheric propagation environment must be fully understood; however measurements of scintillation affecting the VHF/UHF signal, at sufficient bandwidth, have not yet been made. To address these issues the Wideband Ionospheric Sounder CubeSat Experiment (WISCER) is being developed. The satellite will quantify ionospheric distortion on a radar signal by transmitting a wideband (100MHz) sounder signal. Two antenna candidates have been analysed: the crossed Moxon and the conical helix antenna. Improvements to the crossed Moxon antenna design, yielding the WCM antenna, have led to an increase in bandwidth from 65 MHz to 105 MHz. A prototype of the conical helix antenna has been launched on a sub-orbital sounding rocket, providing a proof of concept and a de-risking flight opportunity for that antenna and its strain rigidisation. A trade-off analysis has been conducted to compare the two antenna candidates with the result that the WCM antenna is the preferred WISCER antenna.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Engineering, Department of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering


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