The AIT (Assembly, Integration, and Tests) service of telecommunication satellite manufacturers tests the antennas’ performances inside anechoic chambers, in order to reproduce communications between the geostationary orbit and earth stations.
During the satellite’s life, antennas can be reconfigured and reoriented to communicate with different stations. As the space mechanisms used to reorient the antennas cannot work at earth gravity, they are replaced by hexapods during the RF tests.
Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) is a leading satellite designer and manufacturer. In the development of a new telecommunication satellite, ADS wants to improve its MGSE (Mechanical Ground Support Equipment) to perform ground testing. In particular, ADS wants to have four new precision positioning systems to conduct radiofrequency tests on four antennas.
The positioning system must allow to position and tilt the four reflectors of the satellite. It must be compatible with the MGSE and the antenna’s support, and respect a limited maximum mass allowance.
SYMETRIE designed a system made up of a high-precision BREVA hexapod associated with a two-axis structure (one rotation and one translation). This combination allows performing high travel ranges thanks to additional stages. In order to respect the mass constraint, a specific effort had been made regarding the integration of the additional axis: the base integrates a curved rail allowing a rotation motion, and the fixed platform of the hexapod move in translation. Moreover, a wedge is combined to give an initial angle to the reflector.
The 8-axis system is controlled by an electronic and software specifically developed by SYMETRIE.
■ Compatibility with the RF environment
■ Custom control software
■ 8 axis
■ System in horizontal orientation