A deployable offset parabolic reflector antenna for operation at 200 GHz will be developed. We plan do build and deliver one prototype with 50 cm aperture on a deployable rim. The reflector deployed to stowed ratio will be approximately 30:1.
Such reflector antenna will lower the cost of microwave instruments and allow to meet future constellation repopulation and frequent revisit needs. This technology will enable deployment of radiometers and active sensors, such as radars and scatterometers with practical aperture sizes, larger than 0.5 m on small satellites. The parabolic reflector antennas for these sensors are necessary to provide reasonable spatial resolution. They are also a very significant cost drivers for such sensor since their size drives the overall sensor size, mass, and power consumption.
Operating frequency range up to 200 GHz covers a number of important water vapor, oxygen absorption lines, and atmospheric windows. Data from the active and passive microwave sensors operating in this part of spectrum provide invaluable information for operational weather observations, but also for scientific research of global water and energy cycle, climate monitoring and other applications.
The technology of deployable antennas, lightweight mesh reflectorantenna development, is a cross- cutting technology with applications to active and passive remote sensing, and space communication and navigation systems. Reduction of antenna deployment size, weight is important for continuity of NASA earth observing missions. Such antenna could also benefit future space based sensors for planetary boundary layer observations.
Earth observation from space is becoming a very lucrative business. Microwave radiometer sensors are very important for numerical weather forecasting. Here proposed antenna can dramatically reduce cost while improving spatial and temporal resolution of these sensors. Active remote sensing systems - radars, scaterometers will also benefit from this technology.