Novel technologies are desired to meet evolving demand for remote microwave sensors. Specifically, a large-aperture, active antenna which stows into a compact volume on each spacecraft of a satellite constellation can reduce the number of satellites required to adequately sample a given measurement. Indeed, with a lower satellite count, a significant economic benefit can be realized with the cost savings associated with the corresponding reduced launch burden.
MMA Design LLC proposes to advance the state-of-the-art in large-aperture, high-aspect ratio technologies by developing a deployable Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) antenna applicable to a MicroSat form factor using reflectarray rigid panels. The Large Aperture Rigid Antenna (LARA), stows efficiently in an 1800-cm3 volume (30 cm × 30 cm × 20 cm) and reliably deploys forming a 4.5-m2 aperture with a 5.6:1 aspect ratio.
The antenna is enabling to constellations of SmallSat SARs for rapid temporal repeat imaging and bistatic/multistatic SAR configurations operating as single pass and repeat pass interferometers. This science would further our understanding of climate variability and change as the basis of technology development identified in the 2016 Microwaves and Technologies Review and Strategy document by opening up daily cycles for study in addition to longer seasonal and yearly cycles.
A high aspect ratio antenna traversing the earth in a low altitude orbit supports a larger swath area coverage on the ground. This has applications in both military and commercial remote sensing applications. This approach to obtaining a high compaction ratio antenna will also scale to larger satellite platforms such as ESPA class and support a broad range of frequencies of interest from UHF through Ku band with additional enhancements