Electronically Steerable All-Sky Antennas

S. O'Dougherty
FreeFall Aerospace, Arizona, United States

Keywords: all-sky, antennas, reflectors, satcom, portable

In a communication and information driven world, the need for simple and efficient continuous high gain telecom for moving platforms is vital. The revolutionary FreeFall Aerospace All-Sky Antenna system provides near horizon-to-horizon coverage for satellite communications with no moving parts. The use of three phased array line feeds allow for electronic beam steering across a spherical reflector dish. Our line feeds are lightweight, easily changeable and can be designed to work at multiple frequencies. By combining the line feed technology with a spherical reflector, a wide field of view can be utilized. Unlike a standard 1 meter parabolic antenna, which can only provide coverage over ~8 degrees before needing to be moved, the All-Sky System can provide ~170 degrees of sky coverage. This provides continuous coverage of Low Earth Satellites, without loss of signal or the need for a mechanical tracking system. Integrated with the sphere is an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which provides the ability to compensate for motion of the sphere (i.e. from winds, waves, driving over rough terrain), and continuously electronically steer the beam such that a lock is maintained on the satellite, whether it be a moving LEO satellite or a geostationary satellite.