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Satellite Communications Technology

Calian unveils higher performance composite carbon fiber satellite communication antennas

(6 May 2019 - Calian) Calian Systems Engineering Division (SED) is today releasing a new line of advanced medium- and large-aperture radio frequency (RF) antennas with cutting-edge performance for the most demanding satellite system applications.

These lightweight antenna systems are the culmination of several years’ research and development by Calian SED into composite materials and high-performance antenna design. Drawing on more than 30 years of experience in advanced RF ground systems, Calian SED designed these innovative composite carbon fiber antennas to meet the emerging needs of advanced RF ground system customers, with an optimum combination of price and performance.

The technical challenges in satellite RF ground systems are increasing as satellite communication networks move to higher-frequency ranges like Q and V bands. At these higher frequencies, environmental factors such as rain, wind and uneven heating of the antenna surface can degrade signal performance. Calian SED’s new composite carbon fiber satellite communication antennas are designed to offer superior performance by cost-effectively reducing structural distortions that can arise with legacy ground systems comprised of steel or aluminum.

“With support from the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, and the innovative design team of Calian SED’s research organization, we were able to make the necessary innovations to build, qualify and commercialize this ground-breaking technology,” said Patrick Thera, President, Calian SED. “These antennas offer a significant advancement in RF antenna design and performance. Our new carbon fiber antenna solutions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to innovate in order to support our customers as they grow their networks using our engineering products and solutions.”

Currently configured with either a ten-meter or six-meter high performance composite carbon-fiber reflector and back structure, this ultra-strong design minimizes thermal, wind and gravity load distortion, providing exceptional performance in all frequency bands, including the Q/V range and above. Its light weight and innovative reflector design has the added benefit of fast installation and reduced shipping weight – key factors in the reduction of deployment costs. Calian SED is accepting orders for competitively priced ten- and six-meter composite carbon fiber antennas with plans to roll out additional aperture sizes in the future.

For decades Calian has delivered satellite ground systems globally for commercial, space and defence applications. The growing, diversified company recently announced the acquisition of Germany-based SatService, which will support Calian SED’s expansion in the European market with turnkey satellite solutions as well as products.

“I am very excited about the innovation happening across Calian – innovation is in our DNA,” stated Kevin Ford, President and CEO, Calian Group. “These new carbon fiber antennas are the direct result of targeted R&D investments at Calian SED that will support our growth objectives. They represent a significant achievement in the service line evolution pillar of our growth strategy, and I am looking forward to helping our global customers improve their satellite communications with this advanced technology. With the manufacture of these composite antenna systems right here in Canada at Calian SED’s Saskatoon manufacturing facility, I see this as a true demonstration of Canadian innovation.”

About Calian SED

Calian’s Systems Engineering Division is a global supplier of communication systems solutions and products. One of Calian SED’s key markets is satellite RF ground systems solutions for customers that have complex technical requirements. Our customers are leaders in their industries and Calian SED provides systems tailored to meet their demanding requirements, with practical solutions, delivered on time and on budget. Calian SED’s solutions include satellite gateways and infrastructure for RF communications, telemetry, tracking and control systems, space science and earth observation. Calian SED also provides leading-edge communication products for terrestrial and satellite networks. In addition, our technologies enable our commercial and defence customers to deliver reliable, high-quality products and systems by providing them with superior electronics engineering, manufacturing and test services. Calian SED makes investments such as these in part to support anticipated economic development requirements for Canadian Defence programs.

About Calian

Calian employs over 3,200 people with offices and projects that span Canada, U.S. and international markets. The company's capabilities are diverse with services delivered through two divisions. The Business and Technology Services (BTS) Division is headquartered in Ottawa and includes the provision of business and technology services and solutions to industry, public and government in the health, training, engineering and IT services domains. Calian’s Systems Engineering Division (SED), located in Saskatoon, provides the world’s leading space technology companies with innovative solutions for testing, operating and managing their satellite networks. SED provides leading-edge communications products for terrestrial and satellite networks and provides commercial (including agriculture) and defence customers with superior electronics engineering, manufacturing and test services for both private sector and military customers in North America.