NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 S1.02-9271
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Microwave Technologies for Remote Sensing
PROPOSAL TITLE: Cubesat Collapsible Composite Antenna

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
GATR Technologies
11506 Gilleland Road
Huntsville, AL 35803 - 4327
(256) 382-1334

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Larry Lowe
11506 Gilleland Road
Huntsville, AL 35803 - 4327
(256) 704-5590

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ms Janette Rawls
11506 Gilleland Road
Huntsville, AL 35803 - 4327
(256) 704-5611

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 5

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)
GATR proposes a large aperture reflector antenna for CubeSats that is stored by collapsing, folding, or rolling. When deployed, the flexible composite reflector snaps back into the precision parabolic shape to provide communication.

Decades of research have made GATR Technologies expert in the engineering of large membrane concentrator systems. Its ground-based antennas are already revolutionizing portability in satellite communications. Innovation is required only to leverage this reflector expertise into a unique concentrator system adapted for CubeSat platforms and the orbiting space environment.

The work of this SBIR will specifically address solutions to the stowing, deployment, and environmental design challenges of producing an antenna module for CubeSats. To that end, GATR will be teaming with the COSMIAC Research Center at the University of New Mexico. COSMIAC has extensive spaceflight research and design experience. Its flight heritage includes successful missions currently in orbit.

GATR's designs yield flexible parabolic reflectors that perform equivalently to rigid parabolic reflectors. The CubeSats equipped with large aperture antennas will transmit highly focused signal with increased link gain without drawing additional power from the spacecraft bus. This gain is especially noteworthy compared to the performance of the small patch antennas currently employed on CubeSats. A large aperture parabolic dish will significantly improve transmission data rates for communication applications or improve spatial resolution for radiometry applications.

This SBIR will conclude with a demonstration of both the flexible antenna and a prototype deployment mechanism. The demonstration will be planned to highlight the function and performance that will eventually come to define a common CubeSat high gain antenna module. The design and testing that constitute the work of this SBIR will be conducted to achieve success in this singular objective.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Already, the future for Earth Observation Satellites in low Earth orbits, especially modular CubeSats, is exploding with opportunities. As these opportunities become missions, the total cost of launch and maintaining orbiting assets will continue to decrease. However, planned exploitations of this CubeSat-filled future are already straining at the data limits imposed by limited ground station access and low transceiver power. The direct applications for a stock CubeSat antenna module with a deployable, high gain dish are as immediately diverse as these exploding CubeSat opportunities.

One such opportunity, an Earth Observation adaptation of NASA's iSAT CubeSat for the Army, is already becoming a concrete opportunity. Beyond the immediate applications for RF communication, applications of GATR collapsible antenna technology could include modular and scattered interferometric radar systems.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
An Army iSAT application is only one example of an emerging military mission archetype with the goal of providing real time "over the horizon" imaging to warfighters in theater. As a manufacturer of highly portable ground stations, GATR is already frequently working with the stakeholders for the programs reaching for this goal, and is poised to help shape the payload planning for their spacecraft platforms.

Growth in commercial exploitation of satellite imagery is no less exciting. Google's plans alone feature a drastic increase in imaging assets, not only for entertainment, but for carefully directed data collection. Their acquisition of SkyBox in 2014 greatly accelerates these plans. As the marketable value of remote data collection is demonstrated, the need for high bandwidth communication with the payloads will continue to increase.

Distributed and portable communication and RF systems of a variety of forms, especially those near microwave and millimeter wave have emerging areas developing regularly. The "Internet of Things" is connecting devices, rooms, buildings, and people. Commercial area applications of deployed antenna technology are broad, and when these SBIR funded innovations are achieved more interest from industry and government can be expected.

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.)

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37