Researchers create origami-inspired satellite antennas that can self-fold

TechXplore  February 4, 2021
Satellites and space vehicles will need to pack more cargo for the long haul. However, certain items, like dish antennas used for wireless communication, pose a challenge since they cannot be very densely packed for flight because of their signature bowl shape. A team of researchers in the US (Texas A&M University, Pennsylvania State University, UC Irvine) has designed, fabricated, and characterized a self-foldable Active Origami Reflector Antenna (AORA) of parabolic form. They used shape memory polymer (SMP) composites and applied origami principles for smooth folds to determine the shape and fold pattern of a planar sheet that can be folded to reach the parabolic antenna shape. They fabricated and demonstrated a proof-of-concept prototype of the AORA whose folding was driven by thermal actuation of the SMP composite folds. They studied the far-field EM characteristics of the prototype, the effects of the antenna shape parameters on its EM characteristics and compared the performance of the AORA to that of equivalent smooth and faceted parabolic reflectors. Applications of the AORA include high-gain directional radio telescopes and satellite telecommunication…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE¬†

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