Rohde & Schwarz ESR EMI Test Receivers To Support ESA JUICE Expedition

Rohde & Schwarz has provided two R&S ESR EMI Test Receivers to support The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE), which is scheduled to blast off for a journey of nearly 800 million kilometers to Jupiter in 2022. Before the launch can take place, the space probe's radar antennas have will be flight tested.

Led by Airbus, JUICE is a European Space Agency (ESA) deep space mission to study the icy moons of Jupiter. The objectives are to explore the atmosphere and magnetosphere of the moons and investigate whether there are liquid oceans suitable for habitation under the thick icy crusts of moon Ganymede.

The radar for icy moons exploration (RIME) antenna will play a key role in the expedition. It is designed for the frequency range from 7.5 MHz to 10.5 MHz. This low frequency can penetrate the surface of Jupiter's moons up to nine kilometers. The RIME antenna was recently subjected to a series of tests to verify its simulation data and measure its radiation pattern under conditions similar to those on board the probe.

While analyzing the data, it became clear that a basic spectrum analyzer wouldn't deliver the required performance and a realtime spectrum analyzer would be required. Due to the unknown environmental conditions of the measurements, two R&S ESR analyzers were used as they have an additional preselection feature.

The tests were carried out at an airfield near the Airbus facility in Friedrichshafen, Germany, where the test crew assessed the RIME instrument's 16.6 m antenna in various flight configurations. A helicopter lifted a mock up of the space probe up to 320 meters in the air. The mock-up housed the transmitter, while the two test receivers, each with an RF receive antenna, remained on the ground. The helicopter flew the mock up around the two receiving stations to collect the data needed to calculate the antenna's radiation pattern. Rohde & Schwarz provided the ESA with the measured raw data.