Antenna enables advanced satellite communications testing

On the rooftop of an MIT Lincoln Laboratory building sits a 38-foot-wide dome-shaped radio antenna enclosure, or radome. Inside the climate-controlled environment, shielded from the New England weather, a steel structure supports a 20,000-pound, 20-foot diameter satellite communications (SATCOM) antenna. The antenna—called the Multi-Band Test Terminal (MBTT)—can rotate 15 degrees per second, completing a single revolution in 24 seconds. At this speed, the MBTT can detect and track satellites in medium and low Earth orbit (medium and low refer to the altitude at which the satellites orbit the Earth).

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