Inflatable antenna for cubesat: A new spherical design for increased X-band gain

Alessandra Babuscia, Jonathan Sauder, Aman Chandra, Jekan Thangavelautham, Lorenzo Feruglio, Nicole Bienert

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

28 Scopus citations


Interplanetary1 CubeSats and small satellites have potential to provide means to explore space and to perform science in a more affordable way. As the goals for these spacecraft become more ambitious in space exploration, the communication systems currently implemented will need to be improved to support those missions. One of the bottlenecks is the antennas' size, due to the close relation between antenna gain and dimensions. Hence, a possible solution is to develop inflatable antennas which can be packaged efficiently, occupying a small amount of space, and they can provide, once deployed, large dish dimension and correspondent gain. A prototype of a 1 m inflatable antenna for X-Band has been developed in a joint effort between JPL and ASU. After initial photogrammetry tests and radiation tests, it was discovered that the design was not able to meet the required gain. As a result, a new design, based on a spherical inflatable membrane, is proposed. This new design will allow reaching a more stable inflatable surface, hence improving the electromagnetic performance. This paper will detail the principle challenges in developing this new antenna focusing on: design, EM analysis, fabrication and tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
ISBN (Electronic)9781509016136
StatePublished - Jun 7 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2017 - Big Sky, United States
Duration: Mar 4 2017Mar 11 2017

Publication series

NameIEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)1095-323X


Other2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBig Sky

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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