TOP > Report & Column > The Forefront of Space Science > 2009 > Transmitting Information about the Universe via a Small Circuit Space Communications by the Cutting-Edge Radio-wave Engineering Technology
Clean space communications talking to the universe
As electronic information and communication technology advances day by day, our lives have come very affluent in this information/communication society. On the other hand, energy and environmental problems are now frequently discussed from various aspects as issues that require a global-scale solution. Space development will be likely to be refocused as one of solutions to settle the problems.
In this article we focus on three research areas as space development technologies based on radio-wave communication engineering: space communication engineering, space radio-wave science, and wireless communication and energy transmission, though the terminologies are not easy. The space communication engineering is necessary for communications between a spacecraft such as HAYABUSA and ground stations such as the Usuda Deep Space Center (UDSC) with a large 64m-diameter antenna shown in Fig. 1. Recently, the antenna is used for communications with deep space, such as the Venus and Mars explorations. In the field of space radio-wave science, ultra low-noise amplifiers must be developed for the high-frequency radio-waves that are used in mobile phones, etc., such as microwaves (electromagnetic wave of 300MHz to 30GHz frequency), millimeter-waves (electromagnetic wave of higher frequency than microwave and up to about 300GHz), and terahertz-waves (the electromagnetic waves of higher frequencies than the millimeter-waves and less than the infrared). Further, in terms of clean renewable energy, the wireless communication and energy transmission technology is important because it can transmit information/communication and energy/power simultaneously with wireless. Power source of this system is solar cell. This technology is highlighted as one of the emergent technologies in the radio-wave application. It is expected that its applications will expand to space solar-power satellites (SSPS), the disaster-relief robotics system shown in Fig. 2, and a sensor-network system for spacesuits. General applications are also expected, including wireless power supply to electric cars and wireless wearable health-care monitoring systems. For such applications, economical efficiency is required as well as high-performance. In terms of radio-wave, the high frequency such as microwave is used for these applications. Therefore, the microwave has been utilized for mobile phones, ultra high-speed wireless communication, security check system at airports, etc.
In these circumstances, we have engaged in R&D of electronic communication technology that is more friendly to the universe and exploration of the unknown universe, with the purpose of establishing clean space communication talking to the universe.EIn addition, day-to-day efforts have been made to apply the technologies cultivated in space communications effectively to our daily lives.