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Novel Antennas for Nanosatellite ISR and Communications




The objective of this effort is to develop antenna technology supporting performant, wideband antennas that can be integrated into compact (1-3 U) nanosatellite (<10 kg) payloads.


SOCOM is interested in improving its capabilities in radio frequency (RF) intelligence collection, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) from nanosatellite platforms. Although a number of national assets and commercial services can provide RF ISR support, there is a desire to achieve these ends in a modular concept supporting new levels of flexibility in design and integration of satellite payloads. A constellation of multiple satellites is envisioned, potentially hosting a wide array of ISR payloads. This breadth of collection and communications payloads will be supported by operationally flexible, wideband, performant antennas amenable to the nanosatellite concept.


Conduct a feasibility study to assess what is in the art of the possible that satisfies the requirements specified in the above paragraph entitled "Description".


Develop, install, and demonstrate a prototype system determined to be the most feasible solution during the Phase I feasibility study on the Novel Antennas for Nanosatellite ISR and Communications effort. The objective of this phase is to advance the technology readiness of the antenna as much as possible, by refining the design, building a prototype antenna, and testing the prototype in a relevant environment. The proposer should suggest a suitable nanosatellite host bus, and one outcome of this phase would be the integration of the prototype antenna with hardware and software equipment representative of the selected host bus. Subject to SOCOM funding and user interest, a flight demonstration mission will also be considered under the scope of this phase.


This system could be used in a broad range of military applications where there are requirements for timely collection of ISR data from spaceborne assets. A potential transition path could involve fielding of this antenna on tens or hundreds of satellites in a coordinated multi-plane constellation, achieving frequent contact times and unprecedented reductions in data delivery latencies. Depending on the nature and specifics of the antenna, the capabilities developed could also be used in other missions by commercial companies or other government organizations.

KEYWORDS: SOCOM, space, satellite, nanosatellite, cubesat, antenna, remote sensing, ISR, RF location.


[2] NASA General Environmental Verification Standard (GEVS), GFSC-STD-7000, Rev A, Goddard Space Flight Center,

[1] CubeSat Design Specification, California Polytechnic State University,

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