mtex antenna technology designs prototypes for Caltech’s DSA-2000 project

16. May 2024

Wiesbaden / Pasadena, May 2024 – The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has selected mtex antenna technology from Wiesbaden, Germany, to develop four new prototypes for the DSA-2000 project in Nevada, USA.

The DSA-2000 project, led by Prof. Gregg Hallinan, will be a revolutionary radio telescope array consisting of 2000 individual 5 m reflectors operating in the frequency range from 0.7 to 2 GHz and covering an area of 19 km × 15 km in a radio-free valley in Nevada.

“The project is extremely innovative in many respects,” explains Lutz Stenvers, Managing Director of mtex antenna technology. “In addition to performance, the newly commissioned antennas must also be extremely cost-effective, as more than 2000 of them are to be built in the Nevada desert in the next step. Therefore, we are using a new innovative reflector technology. It allows us to manufacture the 5m large parabolic reflectors with an accuracy of 300µm RMS in a cost-saving manner and in large quantities.”

In addition, there is a new development from the Caltech Group that enables the reception data to be processed almost in real time. It enables a full scanning of the sky, allowing the conventional digital correlator backend to be replaced by a so-called ‘radio camera’.

“Due to the 2000 antennas, we reach an extreme survey speed that has never been achieved before,” adds Lutz Stenvers. “In addition, the newly developed antennas are also interesting for standard satellite communication, as this will make an antenna in series production far cheaper than the current market price. We hope to be able to contribute to another milestone in space exploration with this development.

The four DSA 2000 Prototype antennas, funded by Schmidt Sciences, will be delivered to the Owens Valley Radio Observatory by the end of 2024. Caltech and mtex will stress test the prototypes to eliminate any weak points and thus optimize and mature them for series production.

DSA2000 illustration © by mtex antenna technology GmbH

Wiesbaden / Pasadena
16. May 2024
18. January 2024