Airbus announced that it has successfully qualified Europe´s first five metre deployable antenna reflector. The 70 kilogram deployable reflector will help enable higher resolution from a radar instrument for Earth observation. With its exceptionally lightweight design, its stiffness and high robustness, the semi-rigid reflector technology offers significant advantages compared to classic mesh reflectors.
With its large diameter, the reflector would not fit in any rocket fairing, so it must be compactly stowed. After the fairing is released, the reflector will unfold like a flower – from 1.6 to five metres. The unfurlable parabolic reflector concept enables Airbus to enter the market of cost effective and small radar missions or constellations.
After successful completion of the intensive deployment and environmental tests, the qualification model has now been delivered to the customer for further tests on the satellite system level. The flight unit will be delivered in 2021 and is currently scheduled for launch for the export customer in 2022.