NASA SBIR 2019-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 19-1- S1.02-3110
 Technologies for Active Microwave Remote Sensing
 Under-Rover Ultra-Wide Band Non-Contact Ground Penetrating Radar Antenna
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Astrobotic Technology, Inc.
2515 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222- 4613
(412) 682-3282

Principal Investigator (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Andrew Horchler
2515 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15222 - 4613
(216) 272-3882

Business Official (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Michael Provenzano
2515 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15222 - 4613
(845) 399-0843
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 1
End: 2
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

Creating a ground penetrating radar (GPR) antenna for both Earth and planetary science applications requires high efficiency, robust operational frequency, as well as low size, weight, and power (SWaP) features. Furthermore, the value of an antenna that provides these core competencies and that is versatile enough to be integrated on numerous platforms is of high value to NASA and the commercial space industry. The benefits of such technology could enable the characterization of lunar lava tubes, subsurface water-ice, and the location of planetary ore deposits in a manner that is both affordable and simple to integrate with larger systems. The challenge is that this solution does not currently exist in the market. Choosing a solution that meets the aforementioned criteria often requires combining multiple antennas, thereby increasing SWaP and complexity. The proposed antenna solution intends to resolve this challenge, and the proposing team of Astrobotic Technology, Inc. (Astrobotic) and the Ohio State University (OSU) have the expertise and technological development to do so. The performance and operational requirements of the proposed antenna are summarized as follows:

  • extremely wide operating frequency range from 120 MHz to 2000 MHz (bandwidth of 16:1)
  • effect ground coupling from clearance of 10 cm to 20 cm
  • very low profile for ease of mounting under a mobile platform
  • low antenna ringing with good radiation efficiency
  • ground-independent antenna impedance matching condition
  • low sidelobe and backlobe above ground to minimize impacts from different platforms
  • compact size (less than 50cm x 50cm)
  • simple light weight structure using only materials compatible with space environments
Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

The success of Phase I research will lead to a novel under-rover ultra-wide band GPR antenna design. Manufacturability will be assessed and real performance will be validated during Phase II and will culminate with an engineering model of the antenna that can be easily infused into future missions through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program or a Phase III SBIR opportunity that leverages any of Astrobotic’s existing Phase I and Phase II related contracts. 

Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

In addition to surveying the planetary subsurfaces, there are numerous applications on Earth that demand mobile GPR. These applications include construction, land surveying, mapping building integrity, characterizing hazardous waste leakage, and identifying archaeological artifacts. Furthermore, Astrobotic would be a user of this antenna for future rovers that require GPR capabilities.

Duration: 6

Form Generated on 06/16/2019 23:40:21