What services does the Antenna Test Facilities offer?

Needless to say that the laboratories cater for all the needs requested by ESA projects, but the Antenna Testing Laboratories also provide services for other European space programmes and industries, including SMEs and universities.

The specifications of the laboratories are as follows:

The CATR is a dual-parabolic cylinder reflector compact range dedicated to testing small to medium sized antennas. Its positioning system comprises a polar over-elevation over azimuth rotation axes, with optical encoders on all axes to provide accurate position knowledge.

It is ideally suited for testing antennas under development for verification of their design, as well as qualification testing of antennas. It can assess measurement techniques and develop them for R&D projects and provide measurement services. 

Electrical characteristics  
Overall size 12.5 x 8.5 x 4.3 metres
Plane wave zone 1 x 1.2 x 1 metres
Frequency Range (instrumentation) 4 – 250 GHz 
Amplitude Ripple +/- 0.35 dB (X-band)
Phase Ripple +/- 3 deg. (X-band)
Taper 0.5 dB (X-band)
Environmental characteristics
Temperature 21 deg C +/- 2 deg.
Humidity 50% +/- 10%
Test Positioner – Load Capacity 100 kg
Accuracy rotational axes +/- 0.01 deg
Accuracy translation axis +/- 0.01 mm
Main Reflector Dimensions 3.2 x 1.7 metres
Surface accuracy 50 microns (RMS)

HERTZ consists of a shielded anechoic chamber within a Class 100,000 clean room (ISO 8) with a unique hybrid capability the existing Compact Payload Test Range (CPTR), and a Planar/Spherical/Cylindrical Near Field Scanner.

The CPTR is a Compensated Compact Range designed for low cross-polar performance. This allows the making of accurate measurements of communication payloads employing frequency and/or polarisation reuse. The feed horns can be placed at different locations in the focal zone, causing the wave front to deviate from the normal range axis. By placing horns at a variety of positions, the performance of a complete up/downlink via a satellite for ground stations in different locations can be measured.

The Near Field Range consists of an inverted-T planar scanner in combination with the heavy duty positioning system for the Device Under Test (DUT). For planar scanning, the DUT does not move and can be even positioned on its own support (e.g. multi-purpose trolley) if required. For spherical and cylindrical near-field scanning, the theta-phi rotation is performed in a roll-over-azimuth configuration

Electrical characteristics  
Overall size 25 x 16 x 11 metres
CPTR Plane Wave Zone 7 x 5 x 5 metres
CPTR Frequency Range 3.5 to 20 GHz
CPTR Amplitude Ripple +/- 0.2 decibels
CPTR Phase Ripple +/- 4 deg. C
NFR Planar Scan Range 10.0 x 8.5 metres
NFR Frequency Range 0.4 – 50.0 GHz
NFR Scanning speed up to 1m/s
NFR Planarity on total area ± 0.1 mm RMS 
Environmental characteristics
Cleanliness Class 100,000
Temperature 21 deg C +/- 2 deg.
Humidity 50% +/- 10%
Test Positioners – Load Capacity 5000 kg

The equipment needed to operate the positioners and acquire the test data is located in the adjacent control room. The Electrical Ground Support Equipment (EGSE) required to operate the system under test is placed in the preparation area and connected with feed-throughs to the system in the HERTZ facility

Microwave Material RF Characterization Facility

The Microwave Material RF characterization free space test facility comprises two corrugated feeds and grids with collimating elliptical mirrors focused at the sample position. The set-up is used in conjunction with the Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) positioner. It allows polarization measurements in transmission and reflection configuration (both monostatic and bistatic).

This facility enables the characterization of materials for antenna radomes, reflectors, Electromagnetic Band Gap structures as well as Frequency /Polarisation Selective Surfaces (FSS).

The pair of horns for each frequency band is either directly connected to the Network Analyser (8-50 GHz) or to Solid State Frequency Extenders based on multipliers and mixers (50-110 GHz). 

Frequency range [GHz] 8-110
(7 frequency bands)
Sample holder size [mm] 400x400
Typical edge taper over sample [dB] -35 
Typical beam waist diameter [mm]
Cross polarization purity [dB] -50

(Sub)mm-wave Material RF Characterization Facility

The (Sub)mm-wave test facility is a Quasi-Optical free-space RF measurement bench that, when combined with a Network Analyser and analysis software, provides a powerful measurement tool for the determination of complex material properties. It allows the characterization of dielectrics, ferrites, reflective surfaces and a variety of printed structures, such as FSS, CPSS and half-wave plates. The set-up is installed in a controlled clean room environment ensuring adequate conditions for flight hardware testing.

Frequency range [GHz] 50-500(6 frequency bands)
Sample holder diameters [mm] 50, 80, 110
Typical edge taper over sample (for a 110 mm sample) [dB] -45
Typical beam waist diameter over the full frequency range [mm] 45
Typical cross polarization purity [dB] -30 
The bench is located in class 100 000 clean room area

Last update: 10 September 2014

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