The traditional curved antenna reflector is instantly recognisable on a satellite, but also represents one of the bulkiest elements aboard. As an alternative, new ESA-backed software allows antenna designers to achieve comparable radio frequency performance from flatter, smarter ‘reflectarrays’, which can be manufactured cheaply, just like printed circuits. Two forthcoming ESA missions will demonstrate reflectarray antennas, one in Earth orbit and the other into deep space.
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Source: ESA Space Engineering & Technology