Novel Deployable High Frequency Antennas Using Composite Electro-Textiles
In this Phase I program, the Infoscitex (IST) team focused primarily on the design and fabrication of a prototype high accuracy electro-textile mesh leading to a prototype that weighed 0.42 kg/m2 and provided 99.8 percent reflectivity during testing at 38GHz. Light weight composite fiber core materials have been identified for the Phase II effort allowing the team to extrapolate a mesh areal weight of 0.21 kg/m2.
During the Phase I effort, the IST team also investigated passive inter-modulation (PIM) testing and developed material based design solutions to eliminate PIM for these prototype meshes. Limited US facilities exist for testing high frequency generated PIM and as a result, both the IST team and NASA have pledged to develop this service for both the NASA exploration and Air Force Responsive Space programs in the proposed Phase II program.
A unique wrapped rib approach to providing precision deployable antenna structures was also investigated. The resulting preliminary antenna support structure design was estimated to have an areal weight of 0.88 kg/m2. With refinements in Phase II, the structure is envisioned to provide sufficient shape definition for the parabolic antenna surface accuracy requirements for Ka band communication.
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