NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-2 H9.02-7669
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced Space Communication Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Ka-Band Electronically Steered CubeSat Antenna

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kymeta Government Solutions
12277 134th Court Northeast
Redmond, WA 98052 - 8713
(425) 896-3700

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Margo Godon
12277 134th Court Northeast
Redmond, WA 98052 - 8713
(425) 658-8721

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jessica Stefani
12277 134th Court Northeast
Redmond, WA 98052 - 8713
(425) 658-8705

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Advanced Space Communication Systems 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)
Kymeta Government Solutions (KGS) designed, analyzed, built, tested, and delivered a small, lightweight, low-cost, low-power electronically steered Ka-band prototype antenna subsystem module (ASM) intended for use on 3U or larger CubeSats. This antenna uses a tunable dielectric material and an array of radiating elements to create an interference pattern that steers the beam in the desired direction. This method provides moderate gain without the use of mechanical steering and similar functional performance to a traditional phased array at a fraction of the size, weight, power, and cost (SWAP-C).
The Ka band ASM is specifically designed to be a flexible component in the communications chain. All of the interfaces to the ASM are simple, non-proprietary interfaces, and the KGS ASM is agnostic to radio, waveform, and network selections. A receiver can be readily integrated with the ASM to enable closed loop tracking, and the simple command interface of the ASM provides the communication system with the ability to easily and rapidly refine the beam position to maximize gain and ultimately improve link margins and data throughput without incurring additional power draw or mechanical stability effects.
Modifications to the aperture to better integrate, survive launch, and operate in space were designed during Phase I; during Phase II, KGS plans to update the control electronics and software that drive the antenna and then build and perform RF test on the overall system to verify compliance with requirements.
To date, a low-SWAP Ka-band steerable antenna for small satellites has not been successfully demonstrated in space. At the conclusion of this Phase II contract, the KGS ASM will be ready to go to space qualification testing and then a demonstration launch, where KGS will have the opportunity to prove the ASM's capability in the target environment.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This Ka-band ASM is a small, lightweight antenna which provides moderate gain without the use of mechanical steering or power-hungry phase shifters. This technology provides a high data rate communications solution for small satellites which, when paired with sensors, would provide NASA with the ability to transfer high volumes of sensor data from LEO satellites directly to the Earth via the Near Earth Network. In addition, because the frequency range of this antenna supports communication with NASA's Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS), it could allow transfer of data from LEO satellites to other satellites in LEO or GEO orbits as defined in the Space Network User Guide. This technology is generally not expected to form the basis of the primary science activity on a satellite, but its ability to support the transfer of large amounts of data for relatively little size, weight, power, and cost means that it has the ability to enhance or enable a variety of NASA programs, ranging from earth observation activities to science experiments.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This antenna is appropriate for a variety of applications that require high data rate communications but do not have the funding or the weight budget to allow a phased array antenna, including university CubeSat teams, commercial companies, and government entities. This antenna is an especially good fit for entities that have low weight and power requirements, as these are areas where it performs exceptionally well compared to traditional mechanically-steered antennas as well as phased-array antennas. A variety of space-based ventures or early demonstrations that are expected to require high data rate communications have been announced recently, including Earth observation projects where the satellite itself captures large amounts of data that needs to be transferred back to the ground quickly and efficiently for analysis, as well as communications projects where a satellite acts as a node in a larger communications system and needs to be in a position to receive and transmit large amounts of data for as much of its orbit as possible.

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 03-07-17 15:43