In the proposed effort a design for a 1 square meter aperture V-band antenna will be carried out. It is based on shape memory alloy and antenna surface measurements on similar antenna showed that surface accuracies on the order of (1/20)th of the wavelength at V-band are possible. The antenna ribs are made of deployable shape memory alloy material enveloped by gold-plated molybdenum mesh. The SMA antenna ribs are trained to seek a memorized parabolic shape when brought to its trigger temperature. Based on design and analytical modeling with data taken from measurements and tests in the laboratory, a 1 square meter aperture, F/D=1 antenna can be packaged to fit within a 1.5U stowed volume. The power required to bring the antenna shape memory alloy ribs range between 5 Watts to 24 watts depending on whether the entire rib lengths are SMA or only those sections of the ribs that are folded for stowage are SMA and heated.
The V-band antenna proposed can be used by NASA for its earth directed or interplanetary missions like the Europa Mission. In particular, it can be used for data relay and near-Earth data communications, unmanned aircraft communications, other NASA science missions. It can also be used for technology demonstration, satellite constellations and remote sensing in general. The very compact nature of the proposed antenna design will enable stowage of a 1 square meter V-band antenna into 1.5U volume. NASA’s InVEST program can benefit as well.
Antennas working in the V-band can be used by the DoD and the commercial sector for high capacity terrestrial based millimeter wave communications systems. It can also be used for high capacity communication between satellites in a constellation. Because at this frequency there is strong absorption band in water, it provides protection against snooping by ground-based systems.