NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 O1.04-9130
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Antenna Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Foamed Antenna Support for Very Large Apertures

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Adherent Technologies, Inc.
9621 Camino del Sol NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111 - 1522
(505) 346-1685

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jan M Gosau
9621 Camino del Sol NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111 - 1522
(505) 346-1685

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 5 to 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Large aperture antennas are of interest to NASA for applications in establishing high-speed communication relays for interplanetary missions. Design goals include 20 meter apertures. In order to minimize mission costs at these large diameters, weight must be severely restricted.
Adherent Technologies, Inc. (ATI) has developed two technologies for ultra-light space structures and antennas, the Rigidization on CommandTM (ROC) concept, uses UV-curing resins to stabilize inflated structures and a self-deploying foam antenna concept at small aperture. These technologies were combined in the Phase I program to produce a foam stabilized antenna with a ROC reflector surface. The areal density of the 0.6 m devise was 2.2 kg/m3.

In the Phase II program, ATI will team with ILC Dover and Allied EM to develop the needed materials, design, manufacture, deploy, and test a 3 m Ka band antenna based on the foam stabilized inflatable technology. ATI will lead the materials development effort, optimizing the foam formulations and injection methods, as well as create a custom ROC resin for antenna applications. ILC Dover will manufacture the necessary inflatable mold, and Allied EM will be responsible for the RF design and testing.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The technology is designed to stabilize inflated structures in a vacuum environment. The primary application is for very large aperture antennas as they are needed for interplanetary missions. The design goal is an areal density of 1 kg/m3, which is easily met by the new approach.
The concept is easily expanded for other inflatables like habitat modules for lunar exploration or connecting structures for modular space stations.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
At the current development stage, the technology is limited to space applications. Here it is competitive with state-of-the-art technology satellite antennas due to its low weight. It has been shown that the foam formulations can also be modified for terrestrial applications. This opens a whole new area of stabilized inflatable structures as a potential market. Primary targets would be shelters for emergency management and for military deployments where semi-permanent installations are needed.

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.

Large Antennas and Telescopes

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