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ROMA, Italy

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SPA.2012.2.1-01 | Award Amount: 1.96M | Year: 2012

The evolution of SAR has shown a clear trend towards higher performance at lower cost, less mass, size and power consumption imposing strong requirements in the todays antenna technology since larger antennas means complex, bulky, difficult to route RF harness, and strong mechanical and thermal requirements for in-orbit deployable antennas. Larger bandwidths associated with larger antennas and scanning angles requires True-Time-Delay (TTD) beamforming, resulting in bulky and complex solutions. The use of photonic integrated circuits (PIC) technology in the beamforming is a clear key enabling technology due to TTD can be implemented by using integrated photonics achieving order-of-magnitude improvements in size and mass, antenna system integration and reduction of the risks associated to the in-orbit antenna deployment. The aim of GAIA is the development of the photonic technology required in future array antenna systems for SAR applications, covering from the optical signal distribution to the antenna, the true-time-delay control of the signal for each antenna element by using integrated photonics (PICs) both in transmission and reception, the design of the optical harness suitable for large, deployable antennas and the development of an antenna array module in X band. GAIA goals establish a significant progress beyond the State-of-the-Art in antenna technology for SAR applications, improving the figures of size-mass-cost and achieving the call objective of compact RADAR / SAR technology for future Earth observation missions and strengthening the European leading in GMES. The consortium has been specifically designed for maximizing the project success since all the actors of the value chain, from photonic technology design and fabrication, institutions with capabilities in technology development and packaging, a subsystem integrator, a system integrator to a final user, most of them with demonstrated experience in space.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IAPP | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IAPP | Award Amount: 1.54M | Year: 2014

An on-going and forecasted explosive growth of broadcast and broadband multimedia satellite communication services is putting extreme pressure to increase throughput. To meet the ever-increasing demand, future systems must exploit higher carrier frequencies and reconfigurable radio techniques. These systems are particularly demanding on the performance of RF front-ends, which are increasingly required to combine agility and adaptability with superior performance at ever higher frequencies, setting an extremely challenging landscape for the existing RF technology base while offering major prospects for high-end technology supply in both home and global markets. DORADA has the aim of fostering a strategic intersectorial alliance capable to deliver the technological leadership and innovation in future mm-wave satcom developments that will underpin new services to the consumer and strengthen the position of the EU space industry globally. Bringing together Space Engineering - a European pioneer in satcom RTD - with world leading expertise in the areas of microsystems manufacturing and microwave engineering available in the institute of sensors, signals and systems of Heriot-Watt University, DORADA nurtures an environment suitable to deliver transformative research exploiting complementarities and knowledge transfer. The main S&T goal of DORADA is to develop and implement novel antenna architectures and innovative passive and active mm-wave circuitry which will overcome present technological bottlenecks related to the development of future mm-wave very small aperture terminals (VSATs). Significantly, DORADA will benefit from and be linked to Europes and the Worlds most recent experimental mm-wave civil communication payload, the Technology Demonstrator Payload 5 on board the ALPHASAT satellite. A key deliverable of DORADA will be a test bed demonstrator that will enable on-the-air verification of the developed technology exploiting this infrastructure.

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