NASA 1998 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 98-1 19.10-1685

PROJECT TITLE: Deployable Antennas of Open-Celled Foam Construction

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

The goal of the proposed program is to definitively assess the use of open-celled polymer foams in the fabrication of large free-standing and self-correcting membrane-based antennas for space applications. This concept avoids the use of inflation gas, lenticular canopies, or other deployment mechanisms. The feasibility of deploying antenna films backed by an open-celled foam support will be determined using analytical methods based on known material properties and mechanics. The results will be compared to competing technologies under current consideration. If successful, the attachment of open-celled foams to reflective films will permit the deployment of very large antenna structures in space with high accuracy, reduced complexity, reduced mass and greatly improved reliability. The potential for very large diameters at low cost may prove to be enabling for high bandwidth communications systems in both commercial and military applications. In addition, the resolution of radar surveillance satellites may be greatly enhanced.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

The implications of the foam-deployable space antennas have significant impact on overall space technology. Of greatest importance would be the use of this technology for the deployment of very large diameter, high frequency and high bandwidth antennas for the purposes of military and commercial communication. Applications include directed ground communications, military radar, and military field operations. A major advantage is the absence of inflation gas. Foam based antenna systems can be pre-fabricated and stored for years, with only the electronics package requiring periodic upgrade. When required, the antenna can be folded, packaged and be ready for launch vehicle integration within a few days.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Mr. Peter B. Rand
Adherent Technologies, Inc.
9621 Camino del Sol NE
Albuquerque , NM 87111-1522

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR

Adherent Technologies, Inc.
9621 Camino del Sol NE
Albuquerque , NM 87111-1522