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Ka-band Satellite Phased Array Antenna

Description:

OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate innovative concepts or component technologies for developing a Ka-band phased array antenna. DESCRIPTION: Phased array antennas allow the use of many more arbitrarily positioned communication channels (beams) than would be feasible with gimbaled dishes. Using a phased array antenna, beams can be rapidly re-positioned to give time-shared service to a large number of users. For satellite uplink antennas (receivers), improved anti-jamming protection can be achieved by off-axis pointing and jammer nulling. Together, these techniques improve both coverage and capacity for MILSATCOM applications. Development of a Ka-band phased array satellite antenna with a large number of beams is impeded by both the complexity and high cost of manufacture. There has been substantial work performed over the past decade to support commercial K-band satellite communications phased array antennas. However, there needs to be tailoring for DoD and MILSATCOM use at Ka-band (~30 GHz), particularly for the Wideband Global SATCOM and Advanced EHF systems. These systems can be used by the proposing contractor to establish basic design requirements. Further, recent advances in millimeter-wave electronics and manufacturing technology can contribute to improved design and manufacturing methods for a Ka-band phased array antenna. The fundamental purpose of this research topic is to develop and / or mature concepts and technologies that will reduce cost, schedule risk, and technical risk for a Ka-band satellite phase array antenna. This phased array antenna could be used to provide 30 GHz aircraft-to-satellite uplink capability. A performance goal would be to provide at least 30 uplink channels (beams) from a single antenna. The specific field-of-study for this research is a millimeter-wave phased array satellite antenna. The specific technology need addressed by this research topic is the design and development of Ka-band phased array satellite antennas. Innovative designs, manufacturing processes and/or research activities are solicited to support development of a Ka-band phased array satellite antenna. This can include some combination of innovative assembly methods and higher component integration. Successful phase 1 and phase 2 efforts will provide tools and/or mature technologies that reduce cost and / or improve manufacturability of Ka-band phased arrays. Proposers must demonstrate an understanding of satellite phased array antenna manufacturing, systems engineering, and implementation issues. The technical merit of a proposed concept or research activity must be demonstrated with respect to current manufacturing methods and components. PHASE I: Phase 1 should focus on refining the proposed concept / technology, identifying key technology risks and design uncertainties, and developing mitigation strategies to address those issues in a phase 2 effort. PHASE II: Phase 2 will improve fidelity of models, reduce key technical risks, and show proof-of-concept through breadboard development, testing, and demonstration. PHASE III: Military satellite communication systems can use phased array technologies for protected air-to-GEO communication. Technology innovations supporting the military can readily be modified to transition to the commercial fixed satellite service. REFERENCES: 1. Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) System, SMC Public Affairs Office, Los Angeles AFB, http://www.losangeles.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=5319, accessed 26 September 2011. 2. Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS), SMC Public Affairs Office, Los Angeles AFB, http://www.losangeles.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=5333, accessed 26 September 2011. 3. Oleski, Paul J., GBS/Milstar Airborne Antennas [remote user terminals], http://www.its.bldrdoc.gov/isart/art99/slides99/ole/ole_s.pdf, accessed 26 September 2011. 4. Connolly, D. J., Bhasin, K. B., Romanofsky, R. R., Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit Technology for Space Communications Applications, NASA-TM-100187, 38th International Astronautical Federation Congress, October 1987. 5. K-Band Phased Array Developed for Low-Earth-Orbit Satellite Communications, NASA Glenn, http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/RT/RT1998/5000/5640anzic.html, accessed 26 September 2011.
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