ESA to test the world’s largest transponder antenna

The European Space Agency is testing the world’s largest transponder antenna. Its diameter is 5 m. The device is designed to calibrate a forest mapping mission.

Transponder antenna in the test chamber. Source: ESA

The largest transponder in the world

The Hertz Testing Laboratory has begun testing the world’s largest transponder antenna. It belongs to the European Space Agency (ESA) and has a diameter of 5 m. The operation is quite complicated, both in terms of the size of the antenna and due to the low-frequency radio band it uses.

The tests are carried out in a special chamber, which ensures the absence of vibrations and radio interference. Usually, satellites with a size of 1.5-2 m are tested there. In the case of testing a 5-meter antenna, some additional features of this chamber were found and had to be taken into account.

The transponder will be used to calibrate the BIOMASS mission. This mission is designed to map all the forests of the Earth. With its help, experts will check how well the signal from the satellite is reflected from the surface.

What is the BIOMASS mission

The BIOMASS satellite is planned to be put into orbit next year. It is a reflector with a diameter of 12 m, which will send low-frequency signals to the earth and catch echoes from them. In this way, it will be able to track every tree on the surface of the Earth and will do it for five years.

The antenna that ESA is currently testing will be installed in Australia. It will be integrated into the mobile positioning system inside the protective radome. Thanks to this, it will be able to track the movement of the satellite across the sky. The device was developed by the Italian company IDS.

According to

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