NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-1 H9.02-7669
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced Space Communication Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Ka-Band Electronically Steered CubeSat Antenna

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kymeta Government Solutions
12277 134th Court Northeast
Redmond, WA 98052 - 8713
(425) 896-3700

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Margaret R Godon
12277 134th Ct NE
Redmond, WA 98052 - 8713
(805) 459-3796

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jessica Stefani
12277 134th Ct NE
Redmond, WA 98052 - 8713
(425) 658-8705

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Advanced Space Communication Systems is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Kymeta Government Solutions (KGS) recently designed, analyzed, built, tested, and delivered a small, lightweight, low-cost, low-power electronically steered prototype antenna for use on CubeSat antennas in low Earth orbit. Like all Kymeta/KGS metamaterial antenna systems, this antenna uses a tunable dielectric material and an array of radiating elements to create an interference pattern that steers the beam in the desired direction. This method provides moderate gain without the use of mechanical steering and similar functional performance to a traditional phased array at a fraction of the size, weight, power, and cost (SWAP-C). This prototype antenna meets RF performance goals but was designed as a proof of concept lab test unit with no environmental requirements. As a result, it needs a variety of minor modifications to be capable of surviving launch, to be capable of operating in the space atmosphere, and to better integrate into a CubeSat. This Phase I proposal focuses on the design of four updates to the antenna aperture to better meet requirements in the installed environment. Survivability during launch will be increased by a modification of the antenna-to-drive electronics connectors as well as the addition of two new bolts between the waveguide and radiating cell board; a redesign of the radiating cell will improve observed performance parameters during operation at temperature; and a modification of the waveguide will minimize the antenna footprint in a 3U CubeSat. If awarded, Phase I deliverables will include analysis and simulations of expected results, as well as a plan for fabrication and verification of the design during Phase II. If awarded Phase II, KGS would build and test the antennas designed in Phase I; if this testing indicates that the designs perform as expected based on analysis, the antenna itself would be ready to go to space.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This Ka-band CubeSat antenna is a small, lightweight antenna which provides moderate gain without the use of mechanical steering or power-hungry phase shifters. The modifications defined in this proposal will move it one step closer to being launch-ready for a CubeSat 3U or larger satellite in low Earth orbit. This technology provides a high data rate communications solution for small satellites which, when paired with sensors, would provide NASA with the ability to receive high volumes of sensor data directly from LEO satellites. This has potential applications to a variety of NASA interests, ranging from earth observation activities to experiments performed on LEO satellites. The technology could also be leveraged to provide inter-satellite links, allowing NASA increased communications architecture technology.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The CubeSat standard was defined by a university team in order to reduce cost and complexity of the launch of small satellites. Because they often do not have very much funding, university organizations developing CubeSats would benefit significantly from a small, lightweight, high-gain antenna which uses very little power and is available at relatively low cost.

Aside from organizations who are interested in satellites, this small and lightweight antenna is appropriate for a variety of other applications. These include systems where either the antenna host platform or the antenna with which it is communicating is moving (or both), including aircraft, small marine craft, and mobile ground assets. This antenna is an especially good fit for entities that have low weight and power requirements, as these are areas where it performs exceptionally well compared to traditional mechanically-steered antennas as well as phased-array antennas.

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.)

Form Generated on 04-26-16 15:14