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Center Independent Research & Development: JPL IRAD

Low Profile High Gain Deployable Metasurface Telecommunication Antenna for Ka Band Project

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

We are developing a class of planar antennas consisting of a textured surface or metasurface (MTS) on a thin support. The antenna aperture is divided in panels, which are folded in the CubeSat chassis during launch and deployed when the CubeSat reaches the desired orbit. The developed high-performance MTS antenna will be light-weight, low-profile, and will have integrated feed structure. In addition, the novel MTS design will lead to an efficient on-surface control of the aperture fields and, hence, to low-level of cross-polarized fields and beam-shaping capabilities.

One of the main advantage of the antenna we are developing compared to other technologies such as deployable mesh reflectors and reflectarrays lies in having the feed on the aperture plane, which eliminates the complexity associated to the feed deployment. This translates into the possibility of having larger apertures and, hence, higher gains. With this development, NASA will have flat high-gain antennas available for future CubeSats and SmallSats telecommunication systems. This high-gain antenna system is flat, has low-mass, and is much easier to implement and lower-cost compared to phased array technology.

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