NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 S1.02-8978
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Microwave Technologies for Remote Sensing
PROPOSAL TITLE: Radiation-Hard Ka-Band Power Amplifier for CubeSats

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Alphacore, Inc.
1616 East Main Street, Suite 221
Tucson, AZ 85203 - 9074
(520) 647-4445

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Esko Mikkola
1616 E Main St Ste 221
Tucson, AZ 85203 - 9074
(520) 647-4445

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Esko Mikkola
1616 E Main St Ste 221
Tucson, AZ 85203 - 9074
(520) 647-4445

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Microwave Technologies for Remote Sensing is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The objective of the proposed work is to design and simulate a radiation hard fully-integrated gallium nitride (GaN) based Ka-band power amplifier (PA) for Cubesats. As detailed in NASA's Phase I solicitation subtopic "S1.02 Microwave Technologies for Remote Sensing", the needed power amplifier should exhibit greater than 32W of saturated output power (Psat) with a power-added efficiency (PAE) over 20%. The amplifier should maintain over 35dB gain within the frequency range of 35.5 GHz to 35.9GHz, and be implemented in a single-package solution with small form factor of less than 1cm3.
To enable versatility and scalability to future scientific space applications, as well as radar and satellite communications applications that may operate in slightly modified frequency bands, the proposed amplifier will be designed to exceed the NASA requirements detailed above. The proposed amplifier will be designed in the TriQuint 0.15um gallium nitride on silicon carbide (GaN-on-SiC) fabrication process and have an extended frequency range from 34GHz to 38GHz, extended operating temperature range from -55˚C to 125˚C, sufficient linearity to transmit QPSK modulation schemes, and single MMIC maximum output power (Psat) of 16W. In order to achieve an output power beyond 32W, 3 MMICs shall be integrated within a single package (multi-chip module) with power splitting and combining integrated in the module's substrate.
Furthermore, this work shall explore the feasibility of operating the GaN PA at temperature extremes, ranging from -240C to +250C, as requested by some of NASA's lunar and planetary missions.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA employs active (radar) and passive (radiometer) microwave sensors for a wide range of remote sensing applications. These sensors include low frequency (less than 10 MHz) sounders to G-band (160 GHz) radars for measuring precipitation and clouds, for planetary landing, upper atmospheric monitoring, and global snow coverage. Alphacore's technology supports these future radar and radiometer missions and applications. Examples of target missions are: CubeSats, GACM, CAMLS, A-SMLS, SOFIA and GUSSTO.
Other NASA programs that can greatly benefit from the proposed technology include solar system exploration missions (Europa Clipper, TSSM, VESPER, MARVEL, comet nucleus return, New Discovery and Living with a Star), Mars missions (MAVEN) and lunar orbiters and landers. The Jupiter-bound missions, such as the Europa Clipper and Io Volcano Observer missions, can greatly benefit from the PA due to its very high radiation hardness. The planetary and smaller body lander missions (Mars, Titan, Moon) can also greatly benefit from the PA since it will be developed to perform well in low temperatures, all the way down to -240˚C.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed power amplifier is a good match to numerous military and commercial aerospace systems. Examples are wide-band radar systems, Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, electronic warfare (EW) systems and satellite communication systems.
The Government defense space industry, including satellite programs of Air Force, NRO, MDA, and Army will benefit from a high-performance radiation-hard power amplifier. Among these programs are AEHF upgrades, GPS follow-ons, MDA's PTSS, Air Force's TacSat family, Operationally Responsive Space (ORS), and Army's SMDC nanosat family. The defense CubeSat programs, including NRO's Colony program and the Air Force SENSE program will also benefit.
Commercial space platforms that will benefit from the proposed PA include both LEO and GEO telecommunication satellites, such as Intelsat, Direct TV, XM radio, Orbcomm and Iridium.
Civil earth sensing applications such as weather/metrology applications e.g. (NOAA GOES and Landsat) can also benefit.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Circuits (including ICs; for specific applications, see e.g., Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Control & Monitoring, Sensors)

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37