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Inflatable Tracking Antenna - 2.4 Meter
Phone: (256) 704-6045
Phone: (256) 704-5581
ABSTRACT:This technology development effort focuses on introducing a prototype 2.4 meter aperture, deployable Satellite Communication (SATCOM) ground station. Over the past three years, a pathfinder GATR tracking ground station was fabricated and tested by tracking different satellites in low Earth orbit at multiple frequency bands (S, X, Ka). This Phase II SBIR effort focuses on maturing the tracker structure to meet the deployment dynamics and environmental rigors encountered in a military environment. All of the track stand hardware to include the base mount, the azimuth and elevation motors, and the outrigger arms will be re-designed to meet design objectives. The technical data package required for manufacturing will be generated in this program. This contract will also mature the components necessary for uplink and downlink at a single operating band. Feed and feedmounts will be designed, tested, and built to accommodate these uplink and downlink frequencies. An optimized tracking algorithm for the ground station will be designed, ensuring the control system provides accurate pointing of the inflatable antenna. The tracking software interface will allow users to task the antenna for tracking. Packaging will be optimized for human factors (weight, dimensions, center of mass) and environmental (I.e., temperature, shock, and vibration) considerations.BENEFIT:The Cubesat community has been focusing on developing smaller and cheaper satellites and less costly launch options. However, as the number of communications and data gathering satellites in low and medium earth orbit increases, the need for satellite tracking ground terminals is increasing as well. Over the next 5 years, the need to track and downlink payload data from LEO/MEO satellites will far outstrip the capabilities of current ground stations. Most satellite tracking ground stations are in fixed locations on concrete pads, and are not transportable. Those satellite tracking ground stations that are transportable are large, bulky, trailer-mounted, and therefore expensive to transport. The revolutionary GATR deployable 2.4 meter tracking antenna can be shipped anywhere in the world via standard mail options (i.e., FEDEX) or as checkable baggage on commercial airlines. The GATR tracking antenna can be further transported by SUV to remote locations and be operational within an hour.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *