Foldable Lightweight Parabolic Antenna (FLPA) for Navigation and Communication Applications
ABSTRACT: In Phase I, PaneraTech demonstrated feasibility of a Foldable Lightweight Parabolic Antenna (FLPA) that had the minimum required beamwidth and gain to view at least one GPS satellite anywhere on the earth any time of the day. We achieved significantly high gain compared to traditional GPS receivers so that Time to First Fix is expected to be improved significantly under heavy interference and low signal situations. FLPA is also shown to have an excellent gain pattern that substantially suppresses the interference. During the Phase I, we carried out an extensive analysis to determine the necessary beamwidth required. We also designed and built a prototype reflector antenna and measured its performance in compact range to demonstrate the feasibility of FLPA. Our proposed technology is based on a reflector surface made out of embroidered conductive yarns, thus enabling a low weight foldable parabolic antenna that can be carried inside a thigh holster. In Phase II, we will optimize the mechanical design and carry out necessary mechanical and RF tests to ensure the final prototype at the end of Phase II is battlefield ready (ready for 810G certification). We will also demonstrate GPS performance of the antenna under light/heavy interference/jamming and/or low signal conditions. In the second half of Phase II, we will focus on demonstrating dual use of the FLPA for communication applications as well. We will initially target INMARSAT as a potential communication application to demonstrate transmit/receive capability of the antenna. We will also engage potential Phase III partners along with U.S. Air Force personnel to identify another communication if necessary to demonstrate FLPA's ability to transmit/receive for communication applications. BENEFIT: The proposed Foldable Lightweight Parabolic Antenna (FLPA) has tremendous commercial applications in the defense and civilian markets. While FLPA technology offers significant benefits to the DoD for GPS and communication applications, it also has a potential application as a communication enhancement technology for satellite telecom service providers such as ViaSat, Globalstar etc. Current subscribers of the satellite telecom customers who rely on a bulky monopole antenna attached to their phones and laptops and receive poor service due to high interference, foliage etc, will be able to use FLPA as a high gain antenna for improved telecom service. Search and rescue teams who work in remote fields will also find this technology vital to their needs for enhanced telecom and navigation services. FLPA also can be used as a high gain antenna for cubesat applications as well given its light-weight and foldable/deployable structure.
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