APPLICATION OF VISION METROLOGY TO IN-ORBIT MEASUREMENT OF LARGE REFLECTOR ONBOARD COMMUNICATION SATELLITE FOR NEXT GENERATION MOBILE SATELLITE COMMUNICATION
Keywords: Vision Metrology in Orbit, Communication Satellite, Large Deployable Antenna
Abstract. Satellite for next generation mobile satellite communication service with small personal terminal requires onboard antenna with very large aperture reflector larger than twenty meters diameter because small personal terminal with lower power consumption in ground base requires the large onboard reflector with high antenna gain. But, large deployable antenna will deform in orbit because the antenna is not a solid dish but the flexible structure with fine cable and mesh supported by truss.
Deformation of reflector shape deteriorate the antenna performance and quality and stability of communication service. However, in case of digital beam forming antenna with phased array can modify the antenna beam performance due to adjustment of excitation amplitude and excitation phase. If we can measure the reflector shape precisely in orbit, beam pattern and antenna performance can be compensated with the updated excitation amplitude and excitation phase parameters optimized for the reflector shape measured every moment.
Softbank Corporation and National Institute of Information and Communications Technology has started the project "R&D on dynamic beam control technique for next generation mobile communication satellite" as a contracted research project sponsored by Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication of Japan.
In this topic, one of the problem in vision metrology application is a strong constraints on geometry for camera arrangement on satellite bus with very limited space. On satellite in orbit, we cannot take many images from many different directions as ordinary vision metrology measurement and the available area for camera positioning is quite limited. Feasibility of vision metrology application and general methodology to apply to future mobile satellite communication satellite is to be found. Our approach is as follows:
1) Development of prototyping simulator to evaluate the expected precision for network design in zero order and first order
2) Trial measurement for large structure with similar dimension with large deployable reflector to confirm the validity of the network design and instrumentation.
In this report, the overview of this R&D project and the results of feasibility study of network design based on simulations on vision metrology and beam pattern compensation of antenna with very large reflector in orbit is discussed. The feasibility of assumed network design for vision metrology and satisfaction of accuracy requirements are discussed. The feasibility of beam pattern compensation by using accurately measured reflector shape is confirmed with antenna pattern simulation for deformed parabola reflector. If reflector surface of communication satellite can be measured routinely in orbit, the antenna pattern can be compensated and maintain the high performance every moment.