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Low-SWAP Ka-band Antenna for Inter-Satellite Links, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Kymeta Government Solutions (KGS) proposes to apply technology and manufacturing advancements developed by Kymeta Corporation to produce a low-SWAP-C metamaterial antenna that is intended to operate in the inter-satellite link frequency bands between 22.55-23.55 GHz and 25.25-27.5 GHz. This antenna will leverage TFT technology, which is used to build flat panel computer monitors, television screens, and smart phone displays, to tune the radiating elements of the aperture. This technology allows for the manufacture of a single aperture that can be tuned to operate on two separate frequencies, allowing for simultaneous transmit and receive. The transmit and receive beams can be controlled individually, allowing each to have its own frequency, pointing angle, and polarization. This technology allows the use of one antenna where two are typically required, resulting in dramatic size, weight, power, and cost benefits to the platform. Kymeta has built dual frequency antennas using this technology ranging in frequency from Ku-band (11 GHz) to Ka-band (30 GHz) and in aperture diameters ranging from 20 cm to 70 cm. This antenna is well suited for 12U or larger platforms which benefit from simultaneous transmit and receive, wide scan range, fast scanning rates, and the ability to dynamically update the polarization of the antenna. KGS objectives for the Phase I effort are: (1) Identify requirements for a low-SWAP Ka-band ISL antenna for small spacecraft, and (2) perform modeling, analysis, and conceptual design for a dual frequency antenna that operates in both the TDRSS forward and return link bands. This analysis will result in performance predictions for the dual frequency antenna which will be used to determine whether a dual frequency aperture or two single frequency apertures are the best solution to meet mission requirements. If this project is selected for a Phase II award, Phase II will complete design and fabrication of the selected antenna solution. More »

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