Small spacecraft communication systems must be increasingly robust, flexible and diverse to support a wide variety of stand-alone and interconnected missions used by NASA to conduct space science, Earth science and exploration of the universe. All NASA missions require communications ability and the technology proposed here will be a low-cost enabler to support higher data rate communications for small satellites by reducing the mass, stowed volume and achievable bandwidth and scan volume for a high gain antenna.
AOE's commercialization strategy will focus on CubeSats and SmallSats and their use in the communication systems market. CubeSats, NanoSats and SmallSats are gaining increasing popularity as they allow a more practical and cost-effective way of getting into space as compared to conventional satellite payloads. One of the primary uses of satellite systems is for communication applications. As with military and government systems, commercial satellite communication systems are evolving toward the need for improved coverage, increased bandwidth, higher data throughput, and improved connectivity and will also need wide-band, multi-beam antennas. Commercial systems will require the antennas to be relatively low cost to be a practical system solution; hence the low cost, multi-beam-capable reflect array technology developed here should have direct relevance to future commercial systems.