NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 S1.02-9359
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Active Microwave Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Dual Polarization Multi-Frequency Antenna Array

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Spectra Research, Inc.
2790 Indian Ripple Road
Dayton, OH 45440 - 3639
(937) 320-5999

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
John A. Little, Ph.D.
2790 Indian Ripple Road
Dayton, OH 45440 - 3639
(937) 320-5999

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 6 to 7

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NASA employs various passive microwave and millimeter-wave instruments, such as spectral radiometers, for a wide range of remote sensing applications from measurements of the Earth's surface and atmosphere to cosmic background emission. These instruments such as the HIRAD (Hurricane Intensity Radiometer), SFMR (Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer), and LRR (Lightweight Rainfall Radiometer), provide unique data accumulation capabilities for observing sea surface wind, temperature, and rainfall and significantly enhance the understanding and predictability of hurricane intensity. These microwave instruments require extremely efficient wideband or multiband antennas. For the Phase I SBIR program Spectra Research, Inc. teamed with Scientists from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) to apply new technological antenna advances and new antenna design tools toward solving the challenge of designing small, multi-function antennas that reduce the space, weight, and drag demand on the platform.

The results of the analysis and numerical design in the Phase I program show strong potential for an antenna array that will satisfy all design requirements of a high efficiency replacement for the Hurricane Intensity Radiometer (HIRAD) array. Multiple fragmented aperture arrays were employed in a thin antenna element to achieve exceptional gain (within 0.2 dB of the aperture limited gain) over the entire band from 4-7 GHz with a superb VSWR of < 1.5.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The detailed analysis conducted on this program along with the numerical design shows strong potential for an antenna array that will satisfy all design requirements for a drop-in replacement for the Hurricane Intensity Radiometer (HIRAD) array with improved performance. The completed design will be reformatted in the Phase II program to specifically address the element size and spacing requirements required for a direct replacement of the thicker, lower performance, stacked patch antenna array currently utilized for the HIRAD application. In addition, the antenna array can be redesigned in the Phase II program to be a multi-band array rather than a wideband array if the HIRAD program team would prefer. The thickness of the antenna array can be further reduced (to a dimension as small as 5 mm) through the application of specialized meta-materials to accomplish all design objectives. This advanced antenna array employing fragmented aperture technologies provide NASA with the opportunity for continued improvement of the SFMR (Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer), and LRR (Lightweight Rainfall Radiometer) and increase NASA capabilities in accurate weather prediction and tracking.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed Phase II effort is an important step towards continued commercialization of thin conformal antenna arrays for electronically scanned antennas for military and civilian utilization. There is a significant civilian market for low cost phased array antennas, particularly for mobile satellite communications applications. There is a clear market pull for phased arrays for both military electronics and the commercial broadband wireless and satellite communications arena. In addition, there are numerous opportunities for other tunable devices in the commercial wireless sector. The key features offered by fragmented aperture arrays are extremely low cost and versatility over a wide range of frequencies by virtue of the wide "tunability" of the devices. We are confident that this scanned array project can help achieve an instant market for commercial phased array antennas for applications targeted at mobile users and also have applicability in the commercial satellite market as well since these sub-arrays will scale to other bands relatively easily.

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.

Computational Materials
Guidance, Navigation, and Control
Telemetry, Tracking and Control

Form Generated on 08-08-08 10:51