India completes development of an unfurlable reflector antenna
As the Times of India recently reported, deployable antennas do not only hold significant potential for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), but are also considered a key element as subsystem for space radars that may serve today´s DOD requirements as well as future ones of paramilitary forces, intelligence and strategic missions.
To that end, a so called “UnFurlable Reflector Antenna (UFRA)” has been successfully developed at the Bengaluru laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a major subsystem of a radar and as an appropriate answer to the need of stowing the radar´s antenna for launch in very compact volume. Deployment in space is realized in the frame of a rim truss-based mechanism with arm, reflector mesh, tension ties, nets and a motor to pull a cable to unfurl antenna and mesh to the desired size. The design of the UFRA is said to be scalable to realize any size.
Commenting on this development Peter Rauhut, CEO of Europe´s central manufacturer of “European Space Mesh (ESM)” underlines the strategic importance of providing sufficient mesh production capabilities: “Deployable antenna technologies will very soon become a major backbone in design and manufacturing of spacecrafts of any size. The ability to produce Mesh like the European Space Mesh ESM and lso to provide sufficient quantities at guaranteed top quality level is literally becoming the “gold standard” for the major part of future space antenna technologies”.