Spotlight: New Multi-Beam Antenna Offers Big Benefit
A multi-beam antenna design that simultaneously communicates with as many as 20 satellites – compared with one antenna for one satellite in conventional systems — was awarded the 2004 “Industry Innovators Award” by the Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) for technology developed by the public sector.
A multi-beam antenna is capable of simultaneously transmitting and receiving signals involving up to 20 satellites in different frequencies, within a 38-degree coverage of the geostationary arc. The capability would allow no more than three multi-beam antennas to replace arrays of conventional antennas, each of which currently needs to point to a separate satellite.
The antenna, designed by the Australian-based Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), is a “radical breakthrough,” because it greatly reduces the visual impact of conventional antenna arrays, CSIRO officials said. The SSPI, an international nonprofit body committed to the professional development of people in the satellite industry, features a membership that includes such luminaries as Arthur C Clarke, a science-fiction writer and inventor of the concept of geostationary satellites.
In accepting the award, Dr. Trevor Bird of the CSIRO ICT Centre said the multi-beam antenna demonstrates how innovative Australian design and engineering can combine to deliver a world-first.
(Tom McGinness, CSIRO ICT Centre, 011 61 2 9325 3227)