Clearly hitting the commercial target, the European space company Astrium and its subsidiary, EurasSpace - Gesellschaft für Raumfahrttechnik mbH (Munich) - has signed a contract with the Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST) to deliver the world's largest antenna measuring range to China.The system, worth approximately €12 M, is to start operation by the end of 2005 and will enable measurement of the largest and most demanding antennas of modern telecommunication satellites in a frequency range from 1 to 100 GHz.
In addition to the delivery of the reflector system, the contract also covers the absorbing panelling of the measuring chamber walls, the multi-axis turntable system for the positioning of the test object, as well as the microwave measuring instruments and the respective control software.
The antenna measuring range simulates the geostationary satellites' distance of 36,000 km from Earth in a 30 m long measuring chamber. Two high precision reflector mirrors convert the electromagnetic radiation field of a satellite antenna so that it conforms to the radiation of an antenna from the geostationary orbit.
The spectacular feature of this particular range is the unprecedented system size with reflector dimensions of up to 12 m in width and 10 m in height. The reflectors will consist of three to four steel segments each weighing 30 tonnes and be precision-milled with a surface accuracy of less than 35 thousandths of a millimetre over the complete reflector surface.