A Dual Polarization, Active, Microstrip Antenna for an Orbital Imaging Radar System Operating at L-BandA highly successful Earth orbiting synthetic antenna aperture radar (SAR) system, known as the SIR-C mission, was carried into orbit in 1994 on a U.S. Shuttle (Space Transportation System) mission. The radar system was mounted in the cargo bay with no need to fold, or in any other way reduce the size of the antennas for launch. Weight and size were not limited for the L-Band, C-Band, and X-Band radar systems of the SIR-C radar imaging mission; the set of antennas weighed 10,500 kg, the L-Band antenna having the major share of the weight. This paper treats designing an L-Band antenna functionally similar to that used for SIR-C, but at a fraction of the cost and at a weight in the order of 250 kg. Further, the antenna must be folded to fit into the small payload shroud of low cost booster rocket systems. Over 31 square meters of antenna area is required. This low weight, foldable, electronic scanning antenna is for the proposed LightSAR radar system which is to be placed in Earth orbit on a small, dedicated space craft at the lowest possible cost for an efficient L-Band radar imaging system. This LightSAR spacecraft radar is to be continuously available for at least five operational years, and have the ability to map or repeat-map any area on earth within a few days of any request. A microstrip patch array, with microstrip transmission lines heavily employed in the aperture and in the corporate feed network, was chosen as the low cost approach for this active dual-polarization, 80 MHz (6.4%) bandwidth antenna design.
Kelly, Kenneth C. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Huang, John (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
August 23, 2013
January 1, 1999
Publication: IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society International Symposium, Volume 1