NASA SBIR 2014 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 14-1 A2.01-9435
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Research
PROPOSAL TITLE: Low Cost, Low Profile Steerable SATCOM Antenna

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
FIRST RF Corporation
5340 Airport Boulevard
Boulder, CO 80301 - 2312
(303) 449-5211

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dean Paschen
dpaschen@firstrf.com
5340 Airport Blvd.
Boulder, CO 80301 - 2312
(303) 449-5211 Extension :145

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jeanne Hill-Jurik
jhill-jurik@firsrf.com
5340 Airport Blvd.
Boulder, CO 80301 - 2312
(303) 449-5211 Extension :221

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 5

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Research is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?
No

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The small size of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms along with the need to reduce drag to increase flight time creates a need for low-profile antennas. The oldest solution, a mechanically steered parabolic reflector, does not provide a low profile. The modern electronically steered phased array is an alternative that does provide a low-profile antenna solution, but the cost of these antennas has prevented wider use. Hybrid antenna solutions that are partly mechanically steered and partly electronically steered are an approach to maintain the low profile of a phase array at much lower cost. Although existing hybrid solutions offer potential, there have been limitations in scan speed and Field-of-View (FOV).
FIRST RF has demonstrated the initial proof-of-concept capability of an innovative low-profile hybrid scan phased array antenna that reduces cost by nearly an order of magnitude relative to a conventional phased array for low profile applications and removes the limitations of previous designs in scanning and FOV. This approach uses small mechanical actuators to reduce the parts count of the active components in the electronic steering portion of the aperture. Unlike other hybrid scan solutions, which have asymmetrical fast and slow steering, this approach provides symmetrical fast electronic steering at angles near boresite with slower mechanical steering for large off-boresite angles. The scan loss of this approach is actually lower than for fully electronic scanned phased array antennas, and the FOV is greater. This technology is applicable for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) applications.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
After development of a STAMPS type antenna terminal in this program, NASA SATCOM terminal antennas would become available and cost-effective. These SATCOM antenna terminals would be applicable for both manned and unmanned aircraft, but other platforms may find similar benefits based on the reduced cost relative to conventional phased arrays and the modular assembly approach for other frequency bands of interest.
A commercial Ku/Ka SATCOM system will provide greater flexibility in mobile applications by increasing data capacities and availability to airborne users. The combination of electro-mechanical and active array pointing capabilities would allow for lower cost navigation units to be used in all applications of the system. This can be accomplished by using the coarse pointing properties of the navigation system and the electro-mechanical positioner and the fine pointing capability of the active array and a signal strength feedback network.
The market size can be viewed at around $50M for the NASA and government market, which is based on outfitting approximately 100 airborne platforms, of which there are several hundred currently in the DoD's inventory. It is estimated that this system will sell competitively in this market. Initial deployment is expected to exceed 10% of this market size. Smaller systems could be used to support ground vehicles. Full size systems would also be applicable to maritime use.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
After development of a STAMPS type antenna terminal in this program, commercial airborne SATCOM terminal antennas would become available and cost-effective. These SATCOM antenna terminals would be applicable for both manned and unmanned aircraft, but other platforms may find similar benefits based on the reduced cost relative to conventional phased arrays and the modular assembly approach for other frequency bands of interest.
The commercial airline industry will be the target non-NASA market. A commercial Ku/Ka SATCOM system will provide greater flexibility in mobile networking markets by increasing data capacities and availability to airborne users for the airline industry.
The combination of electro-mechanical and active array pointing capabilities would allow for lower cost navigation units to be used in all applications of the system. This can be accomplished by using the coarse pointing properties of the navigation system and the electro-mechanical positioner and the fine pointing capability of the active array and a signal strength feedback network.
The commercial market is significantly larger than the government market. There are currently 8000 passenger aircraft in the U.S. With domestic and foreign sales the total market is roughly 10x this quantity (about 100,000 aircraft). It is estimated that this system will sell competitively in civilian markets. Initial deployment is expected to exceed 10% of this market size.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Actuators & Motors
Aerodynamics
Antennas
Prototyping

Form Generated on 04-23-14 17:37