Experimental Astronomy

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 231–253 | Cite as

Antenna design and implementation for the future space Ultra-Long wavelength radio telescope

  • Linjie Chen
  • Amin Aminaei
  • Leonid I. Gurvits
  • Marc Klein Wolt
  • Hamid Reza Pourshaghaghi
  • Yihua Yan
  • Heino Falcke
Original Article


In radio astronomy, the Ultra-Long Wavelengths (ULW) regime of longer than 10 m (frequencies below 30 MHz), remains the last virtually unexplored window of the celestial electromagnetic spectrum. The strength of the science case for extending radio astronomy into the ULW window is growing. However, the opaqueness of the Earth’s ionosphere makes ULW observations by ground-based facilities practically impossible. Furthermore, the ULW spectrum is full of anthropogenic radio frequency interference (RFI). The only radical solution for both problems is in placing an ULW astronomy facility in space. We present a concept of a key element of a space-borne ULW array facility, an antenna that addresses radio astronomical specifications. A tripole–type antenna and amplifier are analysed as a solution for ULW implementation. A receiver system with a low power dissipation is discussed as well. The active antenna is optimized to operate at the noise level defined by the celestial emission in the frequency band 1 − 30 MHz. Field experiments with a prototype tripole antenna enabled estimates of the system noise temperature. They indicated that the proposed concept meets the requirements of a space-borne ULW array facility.


Ultra-long wavelength Radio astronomy Space-based radio telescope 



The authors would like to thank Prof. Maohai Huang from NAOC,CAS, Mr. Michel Arts and Menno Norden from ASTRON for the help and support in this work; we are grateful to the anonymous referees for many valuable comments and suggestions. The authors are grateful to ASTRON, the Netherlands, for offering access to the laboratory facilities and equipment.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Solar ActivityNational Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of SciencesChaoyang DistrictChina
  2. 2.Department of Astrophysics, Institute for Mathematics, Astrophysics and Particle PhysicsRadboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Joint Institute for VLBI ERICDwingelooThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of PhysicsUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  5. 5.Department of Astrodynamics and Space MissionsDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Electronic Systems Group, Department of Electrical EngineeringEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  7. 7.Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON)DwingelooThe Netherlands

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