CubeSat antennas need to strike a careful balance between high transmission/reception quality and low size, weight, and power (SWaP) budget requirements.
An effective CubeSat antenna will be able to support the mission control and data delivery requirements of a system in as efficient a manner as possible, with secure and consistent communications access in the required frequency bands.
In recent years the space antenna sector (and broader satellite communications, or satcom, sector in general) has seen a lot of innovation.
How to select the best CubeSat antenna for your mission
There are a number of factors that engineers need to evaluate when selecting from the CubeSat antennas on the market today – these include:
- Return loss – ratio of radio waves rejected by an antenna to those accepted
- Antenna gain – a value denoting power conversion to radio waves in a certain direction
- SWaP-C – available size, weight, power, and cost budget
- Frequency – ensure that you select the most relevant signal band and/or central frequency for satcom system
- Fixed or deployable system
- Beam width