Ball Aerospace
Flat-panel satcom antenna

Anokiwave, Ball Aerospace Team on Beam-Steering Satcom Antennas

April 30, 2020
Using electronic beam steering, reception of satcom signals from orbiting spacecraft no longer requires the physical adjusting of large mechanical reflector dishes.

Antennas for satellite-communications (satcom) Earth stations are usually recognized by their mechanically steered antennas with large dish-shaped reflectors. But that is about to change as Ball Aerospace will be teaming with innovative active antenna integrated-circuit (IC) developer Anokiwave to create much physically smaller satcom antennas that do all the steering electronically.

The collaboration brings together Anokiwave’s second-generation K/Ka-band active antenna ICs with Ball’s electronically steerable K/Ka-band antennas with no moving parts, resulting in outstanding satcom performance at those frequencies with expected military-grade reliability at relatively low manufacturing costs.

The electronically steered flat-panel antennas can be configured as groups of subarrays that are combined into a larger array antenna that provides performance that meets a customer’s most customized requirements. Combining subarrays provides the flexibility to modify a basic starting antenna design and allow a user to optimize performance to specific needs, without the expensive of starting a new antenna design. With the novel active antenna ICs, excellent performance is available with straightforward thermal management and digital control of antenna functions, such as tuning and beamforming. 

“With our latest generation of satcom ICs, Anokiwave has improved the performance and reduced the cost to a point where Ball Aerospace can now deliver flat-panel electronically steered antennas that meet cost and performance targets,” said Abhishek Kapoor, Anokiwave vice president of sales. “This is a unique first in the industry as many companies have been working on solutions with promises made and broken, expectations set and not fulfilled. In the past, managing the delicate balance of cost and performance of the ICs has been a key challenge to the mass adoption of active antennas for satellite communications.”

Anokiwave,;  Ball Aerospace,

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

Sponsored Recommendations

Ultra-Low Phase Noise MMIC Amplifier, 6 to 18 GHz

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ LVA-6183PN+ is a wideband, ultra-low phase noise MMIC amplifier perfect for use with low noise signal sources and in sensitive transceiver chains. This model operates...

Turnkey 1 kW Energy Source & HPA

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ RFS-2G42G51K0+ is a versatile, new generation amplifier with an integrated signal source, usable in a wide range of industrial, scientific, and medical applications...

SMT Passives to 250W

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ surface-mount stripline couplers and 90° hybrids cover an operational frequency range of DC to 14.5 GHz. Coupler models feature greater than 2 decades of bandwidth...

Transformers in High-Power SiC FET Applications

June 28, 2024
Discover SiC FETs and the Role of Transformers in High-Voltage Applications