The National Academies Decadal Strategy and NASA have identified critical earth observations including Surface Deformation and Change and Clouds, Convection and Precipitation. These observations are well suited to synthetic aperture radar instruments. The missions span operating frequencies from L to Ka Band. Precision mesh reflectors are uniquely suited to provide large frequency bandwidth while maintaining small packaging forms with low mass. Tendeg proposes to create a cylindrical parabolic reflector that can be used across many missions. This will include the ability to operate at frequencies up to 36 GHz while maintaining the ability to operate at frequencies down to L-Band. This will allow the proposed reflector to operate with current multi array feeds, or scanning phased array feeds, of different frequencies on the same vehicle. This in turn will allow buses equipped with this reflector to carry out several of the Decadal proposed missions which require SAR technologies. The proposed baseline design is a 5:1 aspect ratio aperture that will be a 1 x 5m deployed effective aperture. The proposed design is scalable to larger apertures and can accommodate a fixed feed with either center fed or offset fed apertures. The antenna has high structural stability which results in high on-orbit resonance frequencies, precision deployment repeatability, low distortions due to on-orbit temperatures and ability to accurately RF test in 1G. The proposed design would leverage technologies already developed by Tendeg as part of previous SBIR activities.
The National Academies Decadal strategy for earth observation currently places a high priority on five designated foundational observations. Two of these are 1) Surface Deformation and Change and 2) Clouds, Convection and Precipitation. Each observation mission has different operational frequency requirements which need to be met. The missions span operating frequencies from L to Ka Band. These missions can include canopy penetrating radar for Earth surface characterization up to atmospheric weather predicting radar missions.
Non-NASA applications can be similar with regards to topography, agriculture, forestry, geology, glaciology, oceanography, volcano and earthquake monitoring, and predicting weather phenomena. The antenna can also be used for military surveillance and reconnaissance. This capability is enhanced by the ability to operate at dual frequencies providing high resolution tracking.