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Radio Communication with Hypersonic Aerial Vehicle

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N68936-21-C-0013
Agency Tracking Number: N202-107-0490
Amount: $239,170.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N202-107
Solicitation Number: 20.2
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-11-19
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-02-15
Small Business Information
4120 Commercial Center Dr Ste 500
Austin, TX 78744-1111
United States
DUNS: 161214242
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Brad Sallee
 (512) 479-7732
Business Contact
 Natalie Welp
Phone: (512) 479-7732
Research Institution

Systems & Processes Engineering Corporation proposes an integrated solution for radio communication for both GPS and bidirectional command and control communications with a satellite from a plasma enveloped hypersonic vehicle.  Our proposed novel antenna design uses a constant magnetic field to induce Hall effect plasma separation. This electromagnetic plasma separation is combined with the RF field to induce a Ponderomotive effect, which further enhances antenna effectiveness by clearing out electrons in front of the antenna.  The Phase I program will be supported by the Texas A&M hypersonic engineering team under direction of Dr. Tichenor, who will perform both hypersonic electromagnetics and Computational Fluid Dynamics modeling and analysis in support of the system design. This modeling and analysis effort by Texas A&M will be conducted in conjunction with finite element RF modeling of the plasma, vehicle surface and antenna, which will be performed by SPEC’s RF engineering staff.  The separation of the plasma for the small GPS antenna is relatively straight forward, while the high gain antenna necessary for satellite communications is more challenging.  Current drones use large 24 to 30 inch high gain Ku band antennas, which cannot be used on hypersonic vehicles.  Instead, our proposed baseline antenna design uses a phased array composed of transmit and receive patch elements separated into rows along the outside of the vehicles body.  In this concept the plasma electrons are forced into “rivulets” with low electron concentrations along the antenna rows interspersed by rows of high electron/ion concentration.  The DC magnetic field and RF clearing field then form a resonate structure in the plasma, which is maintained along the flow direction length of the antenna. During the program, the laser cooling arc plasma (LCAP) effect will also be explored as an adjunct effect.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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