SWISSto12 Successfully Supplies 3D Printed RF Antenna Feed Chains to Northrop Grumman

by

Sam Davies

14 May 2024

11:22

Swissto12

SWISSto12 (St12) RF Solutions has developed, qualified and delivered three fully-integrated RF Antenna Feed Chains, produced using 3D printing, in varying bands for the payload of Northrop Grumman’s GEOStar satellite.

The completion of the qualification program occurred in January 2024, followed by the delivery of the three integrated feed chains to Northrop Grumman for payload integration.

Swissto12 RF Solutions views the space-qualification and dispatch of the Antenna Feed Chains as a significant step forward in the provision of next-generation RF payload solutions. As fully-integrated monolithic assemblies, each component – which includes diplexers, filters, polarisers, horn apertures, and mechanical interfaces – was 3D printed as an entire unit. The development of these components involved SWISSto12’s proprietary Radio Frequency Additive Manufacturing (RFAM) procedure that permits design optimization. This in turn reduces size and weight, yet simultaneously satisfies the strict RF performance and qualification demands set forth for the GEOStar-3 initiative.

From 2011 onwards, SWISSto12 has employed the technique of additive manufacturing for RF applications, and in 2015 asserted that it would 3D print antenna components for European Space Agency. The constraints of prior RF product designs, which affected aspects of performance, weight, size and cost competitiveness, were largely influenced by manufacturing limitations. Meanwhile, the company’s RFAM technology purports to address a number of these issues by facilitating the creation of highly complex, detailed and unconventional product designs that had hitherto been unattainable.

“SWISSto12 is delighted to announce this first delivery to Northrop Grumman of cutting-edge Radio Frequency Antenna Feed Chains for its commercial GEOStar-3 program,” said Scott Wolf, Managing Director of St12 RF Solutions. “Our novel Radio Frequency Additive Manufacturing [technology] coupled with advanced monolithic designs enabled by 3D printing has created a new benchmark in Antenna Feed Chain size, weight, and performance. Our Radio Frequency and HummingSat geostationary SmallSat business has delivered over 200 million USD in customer orders to date, validation of our mission to push the limits of existing payload capabilities to better protect and connect every corner of the world.”

by Sam Davies

14 May 2024

11:22

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