We propose to develop a deployable antenna technology for radiometers and active sensor with 0.5 meter aperture operating up to 200 GHz. Such reflector antenna will lower the cost of microwave instruments and allow to meet future constellation repopulation and frequent revisit needs. This technology will enable deployment of radiometers and active sensors, such as radars and scatterometers with practical aperture sizes, larger than 0.5 m on small satellites. The parabolic reflector antennas for these sensors are necessary to provide reasonable spatial resolution. They are also a very significant cost drivers for such sensor since their size drives the overall sensor size, mass, and power consumption.
Operating frequency range up to 200 GHz covers a number of important water vapor, oxygen absorption lines, and atmospheric windows. Data from the active and passive microwave sensors operating in this part of spectrum provide invaluable information for operational weather observations, but also for scientific research of global water and energy cycle, climate monitoring and other applications.
Multiband passive microwave sensors provide a unique capability for Earth observation and have done so for over 4 decades. Their strength is measuring water in all its forms in all-weather, day-night conditions. They can provide measurements related to water and energy cycles, climate variability and change, and weather and atmospheric dynamics.
Reducing launch size of the reflector antenna enables NASA to deploy these microwave sensors more economically.
Small satellite revolution enabled many commercial applications that were difficult or impossible just a decade ago. There isn’t one commercial passive or active microwave sensor on orbit yet. It is likely because of the apertures required for such sensors. Our technology can significantly reduce the cost of microwave sensors and allow economical deployment of such sensors in constellations.