Indian Space Agency Develops Ship Borne Transportable Antenna Terminal

Indian Space agency ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) has developed a Ship Borne Transportable (SBT) Antenna Terminal for launch vehicle telemetry tracking and command requirements. The 4.6 meter Ship Borne Antenna System has been built completely in India, fulfilling all required specifications.

With the development of this antenna terminal ISRO has established in-house capability for meeting future requirements for similar products. Based in the city of Bengaluru, ISTRAC provides tracking support for all satellite and launch vehicle missions of ISRO and also provides space operations support for Deep Space Missions.

To support Deep Space Missions, a large number of ground stations are required to provide support when launching a satellite. Based on the launch vehicle trajectory and visibility requirement, many a time, the support stations need to be located in the middle of the sea/ocean where conventional Ground Station Antennas are not be suitable.

In order to cater to these specific requirements, ISTRAC designed and developed the 4.6 meter SBT Antenna Terminal that meets the launch vehicle TTC requirements. They studied the technical requirements, researched the availability of similar systems internationally and derived state-of-the-art specifications. The SBT Antenna system consists of 3-axis Antenna Mount, a Motion Simulator, Reflector and Feed, Servo Control Systems and RF Electronics.

The antenna system was realized with the participation of Indian Industries and has been tested and validated on a motion simulator. The final system performance and validation was carried out by a sea trial, wherein the antenna system was integrated on Sagar Manjusha ship hired from the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT). ISRO said the ship was stationed at a specified observation point in the Bay of Bengal and has successfully tracked the PSLV-C38 (India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle).

PSLV-38 was launched on June 23 from the spaceport in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, carrying the Cartosat-2 series satellite - a dedicated satellite for the defence forces - along with 30 nano satellites as co-passengers.