ESA engineers tested A 1:18 scale model of the RIME antenna – Radar for Icy Moons Exploration (Principal Investigator: Prof. Lorenzo Bruzzone) together with a simplified model of the JUICE spacecraft in the ESTEC’s HERTZ facility. Several tests were performed, for different solar array orientations, with the objective of collecting a set of data that can be compared with the results obtained through the simulations and thus validate the design and verification approach.
Minuaturised JUICE spacecraft and RIME antenna during electromagnetic compatibility tests at ESA’s technical centre in the Netherlands. Credit: ESA–M. Cowan
The antenna measurements were performed by rotating the scaled model and the RIME antenna along two axes, in order to measure the electric near field on a spherical surface in the vicinity of the scaled model. The near field data were then processed to obtain the far field performance, which is of particular interest because it more closely resembles real antenna performance.
This test campaign was a proof of concept that enabled fine-tuning of all relevant parameters. At a later stage, the antenna’s performance will be simulated with a high-fidelity model of the spacecraft, which will include all possible features that can influence the antenna pattern. These results will serve as inputs for the RIME instrument team to derive the overall inflight performance of the instrument.
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In the meanwhile the photo of the RIME’s antenna test was featured as ESA Space Science Image of the Week.