Implementing Ground Station Tracking in the Thermal Analysis of a Mechanically-Steerable Antenna for LEO Data Downlink Applications



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48th International Conference on Environmental Systems


The calculation of orbital heat fluxes and radiative exchange factors is an essential part of the thermal analysis of spaceborne instrumentation. For instruments which feature kinematic motion, such as robotic arms and mechanically-steerable antennae, there is an additional complexity in this calculation: there are variations in fluxes and radiative exchange factors due to the instrument’s kinematic motion which occur “on top” of the standard flux variations due to orbital motion alone.

The specific kinematic motion associated to the tracking of a ground station by a mechanically-steerable antenna onboard a LEO satellite is well-known and recurrent to many missions, however it is not available as a default pointing law in the ESATAN-TMS thermal analysis software suite. This paper presents a set of user-defined FORTRAN-based algorithms which have been developed to implement the required tracking functionality in ESATAN. The algorithms are simple yet sufficiently accurate for thermal analysis. Algorithm logic, validation approach, and results of in-orbit calculations using the algorithms are presented in the context of the thermal analysis of the KDA MSDDA, a mechanically-steerable antenna developed by Kongsberg Space/ATG/ESA and baselined to fly onboard MetOp-SG satellites A and B.


César Gómez-Hernández, ATG-Europe B.V.
Rolf Hildre, Kongsberg Space Systems
Mattias Carlqvist, Kongsberg Space Systems
Maria Marina Silvestri, ATG-Europe B.V.
ICES207: Thermal and Environmental Control Engineering Analysis and Software
The 48th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA on 08 July 2018 through 12 July 2018.


mechanically-steerable antenna, Low-earth orbit, orbital heat flux, radiative exchange factor, kinematic motion, ground station tracking, ESATAN