Software Tool for Analysis and Design of Antenna Arrays for Small Satellites
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The Norwegian Space Centre wants a commitment to national nano- and micro-satellite projects to cover strategical national interests. AISSat-1 was launched in 2010, and AISSat-2 in 2014. AIS operates on 160 MHz, and on a satellite platform that is significantly smaller than the wavelength, which poses a challenge for the design of the AIS antenna. To aid the design of the AIS antenna, and other antenna systems for small satellites, it is useful to have a tool that allows for simulation of the antenna system's radiation characteristics with decent accuracy and short computational time, and without the need to create a 3D CAD model of the antennas and satellite platform. The software tool SmallsatArray was developed in this thesis work to fill this need. The software targets antenna arrays where the satellite platform is electrically small compared to the wavelength, thus having a minimal impact on the radiation from the antennas. Through rotation of imported radiation patterns from CST or HFSS and 3D Array calculations, the software lets the user construct arbitrary three-dimensional antenna arrays and calculate the total field of the antenna systems. The results can be displayed using a wide range of plotting options, and can easily exported. The SmallsatArray software offers a very fast alternative to full-wave simulation software and was found to provide satisfactory accuracy even as the wavelength is reduced close to the satellite dimensions.