Large Fiberglass Modular Antenna Support Test Structure
Space exploration. RF test fixture for interplanetary probe Europa Clipper’s antenna.
Previous Limiting Technology
Large precision structures like this (60 feet wide) have been prohibitively expensive to build and can be difficult to transport between facilities. Rock West developed a unique, affordable solution while maintaining precision.
Our customer needed a large 60 ft long, 28 ft tall precision deployable test structure. It had to be strong, affordable, lightweight and RF transparent. The antenna being tested will be mounted on the Europa Clipper spacecraft that will pass by Europa – a moon of Jupiter – and scan for liquid water below the surface.
Rock West proposed a solution using square tubes produced from COTS fiberglass beams. By using smart machining processes for repeatable accuracy, we were able to meet tolerances difficult to reach with large structures. It was preassembled at Rock West for proof testing, then deployed both at the JPL and NICW RF test ranges.