Design of array antennas for satellite applications is always a trade-off between physical constrains and pattern requirements. In this paper, the focus is on the design of a large array antenna for earth coverage applications using spot beams. The array antenna has a diameter of 1 m and consists of circular polarized horn antennas positioned in a non-uniform grid. By using a binary coded genetic algorithm (BCGA) the desired element positions and their excitations are optimized to fulfill the pattern requirements. In addition thinning has been used to study the possibility of maintaining good antenna performance when reducing the number of elements. The proposed antenna design has robust side lobe level, beam width and gain; all remain virtually unchanged under a change of operating frequency ±7% and under lobe steering over earth ±8.8o.
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