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ColKa “Columbus Ka-band antenna”

Livorno, Italy – April 2019 – A Kayser Italia team is now busy in the final tests of the ColKa “Columbus Ka-band antenna” system at the ESTEC Test Centre in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. The new Euroepan communication system is now passing the final environmental tests before its launch to the ISS where it will be accommodated outside the Columbus laboratory.

Once installed outside the International Space Station (see picture) the “ColKa” system will link the Columbus European laboratory to the geostationary “European Data Relay Satellite” (EDRS), offering an high speed data link to astronauts and researchers.

Kayser Italia is participating to the ColKa project as prime “Embarkation contractor” for the mechanical Platform, i.e. the support panels and structure designed to withstand thermal and structural environments, and interfacing with the “COLKa Terminal” equipment, the Columbus module and the launch vehicle/temporary on-orbit stowage location. The Platform provides structural support, thermal control and stability and where possible radiation shielding and protection against space debris and micrometeorites for the installed Terminal equipment. Kayser Italia is also responsible for the interconnecting harness between the Platform and Columbus module.

Other than the benefits that a broadband speed link will offer to payload and investigations, ColKa has let many European industries to mature know-how and capabilities to other extreme space applications like the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway or interplanetary expeditions.


Columbus Ka-band system "ColKa" on ISS Columbus module
(Image credits Kayser Italia)