Satellite Technology Feature Article
Cambridge Consultants Provides Antennas to Square Kilometer Array
By Raju Shanbhag, TMCnet Contributor
Cambridge Consultants, a technology design and development firm, was recently assigned the task of turning an antenna design for the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) into a viable product for volume manufacturing.
The SKA is a radio telescope with a total collecting area of approximately one square kilometer. It will function on a broad range of frequencies and its size will make it 50 times more sensitive than any other radio instrument. It will need very high performance central computing engines and long-haul links with a capacity better than the current worldwide Internet traffic.
It can also survey the sky more than ten thousand times faster than ever before.
The company admits it was no easy task. The antennas for the system must be simple to assemble in the field and should provide up to 50 years of use, arguably in harsh desert conditions. Millions of them are required with no degradation of performance and at the lowest possible cost, the company stated in a news release.
“The challenge of volume manufacture is at the forefront of our work with the SKA program,” said Gary Kemp, program director at Cambridge Consultants. “The two-meter-tall antennas will have to be manufactured in very high volumes – more than 2.5 million will be required, in addition to the 40 million antennas of the mid-frequency array. So ‘commercializing’ the design through the design for manufacture process is critical to the feasibility of the SKA.”
In 2008, TMC’s (News - Alert) Anuradha Shukla reported that the company signed a multimillion dollar contract with Florida-based xG Technology, Inc. According to the contract, Cambridge Consultants will create and develop xG’s next-generation VoIP wireless handset which can provide wide area operation facilitates by xG’s proprietary technology.
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Edited by Braden Becker