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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Novel Ka-band High Gain Antenna Design for Comm Systems for future Earth Observing Missions

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

High Gain Antenna Design for Comm Systems

A novel high gain antenna (HGA) for Ka-band RF communications  is proposed in this IRAD.   Such a concept is in the best interest for future Earth Observing (EO) missions at Low Earth Orbit (LEO) that have stringent jitter requirements, and where a HGA with a dual axis gimbal seems unacceptable due to the jitter that could be induced to the observatory.  


The goal of this proposal is to continue the design effort and increase the technology readiness level (TRL) of a high gain antenna (HGA) for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Ka-band communications.  This design would be radically different to what has been done before for Ka-band LEO communication applications and would be a very elegant and cost efficient solution to the jitter concern.  Spacecrafts with very tight stability requirements, such as the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), and Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) 2 could benefit from a HGA that exerts virtually no torque or jitter without the added complexity and cost of developing an electronically scanned array.  The proposed option would present the benefit of having only a single-axis movement, rather than a 2-axis gimbal system.  It would therefore decrease the disturbance to the observatory caused by a traditional HGA pointing system, and still enable higher data rates using less transmit power.

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