Towards the exploratory in-orbit verification of an E/W-band satellite communication link
This contribution details the motivation and the status of a new satellite mission, which targets the in-orbit verification of a wideband satellite communication link operating in the high millimeter-wave regime at 71-76 GHz. The paper reviews the dynamic link budgets for data links between satellites in low-earth orbits and ground stations on close to sea level, taking into account the expected atmospheric attenuation according to lTU models and supported by successful terrestrial transmission experiments, which confirm the feasibility and attractiveness of exploiting allocated spectrum in E-band for Gigabit satellite feeder links of globe-spanning satellite constellations and high capacity data downlinks in earth observation, even under adverse weather conditions. The scientific payload, hosted by a 6V-Cubsat platform, comprises a high-performance E-band transmitter with GaN-based solid state power amplifiers, an InGaAs-based low-noise receiver and a modern FPGA-based digital processing unit realizing AWG functionality and 4k image/video storage. The ground terminal employs a highly directive Cassegrain antenna with coarse GPS and fine RF tracking and a low-noise receiver.