The development of a new generation of pioneering British deployable satellite antennas has been boosted following a £1m Ministry of Defence investment…
The ‘wrapped rib’ antenna is lighter, less complex and more cost-competitive than those currently available commercially. The antenna will be exclusively developed in the UK by Oxford Space Systems (OSS). It will make the UK the first European country with the capability of a flight-proven parabolic deployable antenna.
The lighter weight of the ‘wrapped-rib’ antenna means it can be transported to space more efficiently at less expense. This is critical in an industry where launch costs are high. The MOD funding will assist OSS to increase the antenna’s size and its performance to meet the needs of defence.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I have been clear that we need to accelerate the development of new, innovative capabilities – especially those in the space domain. It is vital that we have homegrown affordable technologies like this pioneering deployable satellite antenna to maintain a commanding military advantage over our adversaries and competitors.”
The new antenna will be used to meet the needs of fine-resolution Low Earth Orbit Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery. SAR permits all weather Earth observation, irrespective of time of day or night. This provides unique advantages for both civil and defence applications. The technology will enable the UK to deploy a number of antennas in space, providing more accurate and frequent satellite images.