May 02, 2006
ARISS ANTENNAS ON COLUMBUS
As announced previously, the ARISS L/S-band antennas have been developed at the Wroclaw University of Technology under the direction of Dr Pawel Kabacik, assistant professor at the Institute of Telecommunications and Acoustics.
Several units have been manufactured by specialized workshops and have been delivered to EADS, Bremen and ESA/ESTEC for preliminary testing.
The antennas are presently undergoing mechanical vibration tests. These tests are needed to comply with severe conditions during transportation of Columbus in the Shuttle bay.
Moreover, the antennas will be protected against atomic oxygen, a very aggressive agent present at the orbiting altitude of the International Space Station. A silicon oxide coating will be deposited on the antennas, most probably at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland.
Before Columbus leaves EADS, Bremen for a Beluga flight to Kennedy Space Center , two coaxial cables will be fixed outside the hull of the module, running from the feedthrough on the port cone to the nadir where the ARISS antennas will be fixed to the Meteorite Debris Panels.
Further work is still needed on the antennas and the installation on the MDPs will be done at KSC.
Meanwhile the Columbus working group has prepared a document describing the onboard equipment to be used with the L/S-band antennas. The basic idea is twofold: a linear transponder, L-band up, S-band down and a downlink DATV system. This project will be submitted to the ARISS Project and Use Committee for approval.
Let us wish Columbus a safe flight to Cape Canaveral.
Gaston Bertels, ON4WF