Meet the 35 sq meter L-Band SAR Antenna


The image shows the SAOCOM 1A L-band SAR antenna deployed at CONAE’s Integration & Test Laboratory located in the province of Cordoba, Argentina.

Translated from Spanish to English, so expect errors.

The new satellite SAOCOM 1A of Earth observation with microwave radar of the National Commission of Space Activities (CONAE), is in the final stages of the construction phase, almost completed. In the Integration and Testing Laboratory (LIE) of the Teófilo Tabanera Space Center of the CONAE in Córdoba, the mechanical alignment of the panels that make up the SAR type radar antenna was performed (for its acronym in English Synthetic Aperture Radar: Radar de Apertura Synthetic). This is the sensing part of the SAOCOM 1A observation instrument, the eyes of the satellite.

The huge radar antenna of 35 square meters and 1,500 kilograms of weight, is composed of 7 panels of 1.5 x 3.5 meters each. These panels contain 20 radiant modules (the strips of white rectangles shown in the photo) with 8 radiant elements each (the circles inside the rectangle). Everything was assembled in the LIE on the folding structure manufactured by the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA).
Electronics and cabling for the eyes of SAOCOM

The photos show the back of the SAR antenna of the satellite SAOCOM 1A fully deployed, with the wiring and electronic components for radar operation. The antenna is mounted on the 0 G (zero gravity) simulator device, consisting of air slides that hold the antenna for deployment operations. In gray color you can see the assembly structure called “platform dummy”, with the geometric characteristics of the service platform (the satellite body), and it is used to hold the SAR antenna during the integration operations.
While the CONAE in Córdoba completes the integration and testing of the SAR antenna, the eyes of SAOCOM 1A, in Bariloche enlist the body of the satellite. At the headquarters of INVAP S.E., the main contractor of the SAOCOM Mission, the construction of the service platform has been completed. And in Buenos Aires, the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) finalized the solar panels. In short, the SAR antenna and solar panels will be integrated into the body of the new Argentine satellite of Earth observation. Thus the SAOCOM 1A, built jointly by the CONAE with national companies and organizations, is close to its final flight configuration.


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