In order to provide high performance communication links for lunar and deep space missions, while dramatically improving cost and reducing SWaP, new approaches are required. The key enablers to deliver this step change, mass manufacturability and software-defined design, serve as cornerstones to Cesium’s modular design ecosystem. Leveraging Cesium’s existing phased array communication hardware and development roadmap, this submission proposes a feasibility study to define the required software development and hardware adaptation to enable dual function active phased array communication and radar sensing system from the same payload. Such a system will bring all the advantages of Cesium’s modular scalable approach, adding dual use functionality within a very low SWaP, low cost solution. By combining communications and radar within one payload, the system provides two functionalities from one-equipment set of size weight and power. Moreover, the system can be scaled to suit a very wide range of mission scenarios based on Cesium’s modular building blocks.
NASA application of this technology is potentially very broad and includes all missions that require Ka-band communications or signal processing. Current programs that use this technology are NASA Ames Starling and Glenn’s SKOUT. Future NASA applications include communications link and radar ranging systems for lunar landers and space stations, dedicated communications link for lunar rovers and habitats, very high throughput communications for lunar communication relay satellites, and space situational awareness capability.
Missions include ground links for small satellites, dedicated high throughput communication links for larger satellites, and radar sensing payloads for orbital servicing and space situational awareness. Additionally, UAV’s are a prime target for technology transition as SWaP is critical and such a dual function payload has direct application for communications and collision avoidance.