Communication with space: Safran antennas bring us one step closer!
Safran Data Systems is developing antennas featuring cutting-edge electronic scanning technology. These "flat" antennas, which require no mechanical movement, will make it possible, for example, to track constellations of satellites in low earth orbit. An unprecedented solution for space exploration.
Whether for defense projects or civil satellite constellations, electronically scanned antennas represent a real technological breakthrough. Their electronic components make it possible to control antenna directivity and pointing directions, and even multiply the number of beams. The compactness of these antennas, and the possibility of discreet installation, are particularly well-suited to the needs identified for electromagnetic intelligence gathering applications.
Today, with the support of CNES (Centre national d'études spatiales), an S-band hybrid prototype has been finalized. The antenna is now operational, and will be put through its paces in satellite reception and spacecraft telemetry tests until mid-2024. Next steps: industrialization and product launch! Very compact, they will complete the range of antennas already offered by Safran: IRIS, LEGION, VISION, ORION, not forgetting SPARTE.
Safran, leader in the antenna market
This new technology is the fruit of studies begun in 2014 with the X-Selans joint laboratory, which relies on the XLIM university laboratory in Limoges, specialists in radiating elements. Together, they have brought this cutting-edge technology to fruition, receiving financial and technical support from CNES.
Safran Data Systems' ambition is to develop future generations of ground stations for communication with space, in order to consolidate its position as world leader in ground stations for the space and flight test markets.
Power and precision with Safran AESA antennas
Safran offers a complete range of antennas for airborne, naval and land-based applications. Comprising multiple antenna modules, each generating and directing its own radar beam, they enable fast, accurate scanning over a wide area, outperforming traditional radar antennas.
Integrated into both military and civil aircraft programs, such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafale and Boeing 787 Dreamliner, these antennas drastically improve the performance of radar systems. Safran has pushed the innovation envelope with its exclusive AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) technology, called Sibylline, further optimizing performance and reliability.
Safran technology at the heart of numerous space conquest projects
Safran Data Systems is involved in other antenna projects in the same segment, such as the CHOSE (Connectivité Haut Débit Optique et SatellitairE) project, funded by the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC), which will demonstrate a Ka-band 2D electronically scanned antenna for on-board aircraft connectivity. The SHIFT (Sustainable tecHnologIes enabling Future Telecom applications) project, funded by the European Union, will demonstrate an X-band multi-contact electronic scanning antenna that can receive signals from two satellites simultaneously for image telemetry.
This involvement in large-scale collaborative projects highlights the maturity and reliability of Safran's solutions in the highly competitive and strategically important space sector.
How do these antennas work?
Let's use the analogy of an ear for a better understanding. An ear receives "voice", which is a wave. To hear better, all you have to do is turn your head, a bit like a satellite dish, which must mechanically orient its reflector (the equivalent of the pinna in the ear) to aim at a satellite in order to pick up the maximum signal. Now, with an electronic scanning concept, we could imagine the ear being able to listen with optimum quality, in a chosen direction, without having to move the head, and above all to be able to listen to several conversations at the same time.
Electronically scanned antennas from Safran Data Systems are at the forefront of satellite technology, paving the way for more precise and efficient space connectivity, contributing to tomorrow's space exploration.