Resistively loaded ultra-thin FSS absorbers for radio-frequency enhancement of spacecraft thermal blankets

Gabriel Goncalves Machado, Robert Cahill, Vincent Fusco, Gareth Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This study reports the use of metal-backed frequency selective surface (FSS) absorbers as a means to control the scattering of electromagnetic energy from satellite platforms which are covered with thermal blankets. This is achieved by exploiting the similarity of the physical construction of this class of absorber and the dielectric clad foil-backed outermost layer of space blankets. Simulated results are presented for five absorber designs which are suitable for mechanical integration into the top surface of a multi-layer insulator. These were constructed using polyethylene terephthalate (PET) material with sheet thickness in the range 140μm(λ/213) − 1120μm (λ/25). The optimum performance around 10 GHz was obtained from an array of hexagonal patch elements with the conductivity of the silver plating adjusted to achieve the desired resistive loading. At normal incidence, the FSS-based structures presented −10 dB reflectivity bandwidths that are strongly dependent on the thickness of the PET sheet and vary between 2 and 16%. The design methodology is verified by measuring the radar backscatter from 140 and 1120μm thick absorbers in the frequency range 8–12 GHz.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1928-1933
Number of pages6
JournalIET Microwaves, Antennas and Propagation
Issue number11
Early online date13 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2019


  • electromagnetic wave absorption
  • silver
  • frequency selective surfaces
  • space vehicles
  • satellite communication
  • radar absorbing materials
  • radio-frequency enhancement
  • spacecraft thermal blankets
  • metal-backed frequency selective surface absorbers
  • electromagnetic energy
  • satellite platforms


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