Advances in Satellite Antenna Technology

Most people know what Origami is.  In case you don’t, the goal of Origami is to transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques.  Modern origami practitioners generally discourage the use of cuts, glue, or markings on the paper.  So, you ask, how could Origami possibly be […]

Most people know what Origami is.  In case you don’t, the goal of Origami is to transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques.  Modern origami practitioners generally discourage the use of cuts, glue, or markings on the paper.  So, you ask, how could Origami possibly be related to anything of interest to rocket scientists?  As you will see, there most certainly is a connection between Origami and Antenna technology.

CubeSat is a miniaturized satellite, or nanosatellite, intended for space research.  Due to their small size, large numbers of CubeSats generally perform their unique tasks by working together in large constellations.  To date, there are about 1500 CubeSat satellites in orbit.

Although technology advances have allowed satellites to be effectively miniaturized, the antenna associated with each CubeSat can not be miniaturized; the laws of physics simply do not permit the antenna to be any smaller than it is.  And, since the antenna must remain large, it would not fit in the small area inside the miniature satellite.   Since the antenna is necessary to allow the satellite to communicate with other satellites, and with earth stations, there needed to be a way to get the large antenna into the small satellite. 

As explained here, Dr. Kim and his colleagues at Pusan National University and the University of Alabama, USA, developed a new deployable antenna for CubeSats.  Inspired by the mathematics which are the root of Origami, the team designed an antenna which could be folded and stored inside the Cubesat.  Once in orbit, the antenna would be deployed, and unfolded to its full and functional size.  This new advance in Antenna design now allows nanosatellites to be part of our satellite fleet.

So, although many may have thought that antenna design could not be pushed any further, Dr. Kim proved them wrong.  What other previously unimagined advances in antenna technology are yet to be imagined?

To learn more about Antennas, consider taking the upcoming ATI course entitled Antenna and Array Fundamentals.  You can learn more about this offering, and register, here.

Lastly, as always, a full listing of ATI’s courses can be found here.

The Four Shuns

I was watching an old episode of Star Trek today, and Captain Picard and his landing party Teleported to some dangerous place.  For non-trekkies, Teleporting is a way that people get from one place to another by having their bodies vaporize in one location, and get reconstituted in a different location.  They were accompanied by […]

I was watching an old episode of Star Trek today, and Captain Picard and his landing party Teleported to some dangerous place.  For non-trekkies, Teleporting is a way that people get from one place to another by having their bodies vaporize in one location, and get reconstituted in a different location.  They were accompanied by one crew member that I did not recognize, so as any Star Trek Fan knows, that crew member is the sacrificial goat who gets killed in this dangerous place.  As I watched the Teleportation of the landing party, it reminded me of a conversation I had many years ago with someone who, at the time, was a high school senior starting a Summer Internship with me. 

I asked Alex what he dreamed of doing in what would surely be a long and successful career as an engineer.  Alex told me that he was going to design and build the first real Teleportation device, and that would change the way modern man thinks about traveling.  I thought Alex was joking, and I laughed at him.  After he explained that he was not kidding, I had a serious conversation with him explaining why Teleportation was something that was only found in Science Fiction movies, and that it was contrary to all Laws of Physics, and that it could never actually happen. 

I regret that I handled the conversation that way that day.  Who was I to tell Alex what he could not do?  What may have happened if someone had told Alexander Graham Bell that man would never have telephones, or if someone had told Neil Armstrong that man would never walk on the moon? 

The rate at which technology has advanced in the last 50 years is mind-boggling, and technology will certainly advance at the same pace, or faster, in the next 50 years.  Fifty years ago, one could not have imagined the technology we would have today.  So, why should man today even attempt to imagine the technology that will be common-place 50 years from now.  And, although I do not personally expect to be around in 50 years, my Intern Alex should still be around. 

Ambition is the source of innovation, and innovation is the source of radical technology.

We cannot imagine what Alex and his peers will have in store for us in the future.

If you want to advance your skills in areas that will allow you to innovate into the future, consider taking one of the many courses offered by ATI.  You can find our full catalog of courses on our home page.

Most of our courses are being offered Live-Virtual at the moment, but as we leave COVID behind us, we will be offering more courses Live again.  With Live Courses, students will need to travel to get to the facility where the course is being offered, but with luck, you may be able to Teleport to the classroom someday soon.

As a closing and encouraging footnote, I reached out to Alex today, and reminded him of the conversation we had so many years ago.  I was happy to hear that Alex is still working hard and enthusiastic about his goal to someday invent a Teleporter.  When he does that, his name will be associated with other pioneers like Graham Bell and Armstrong.

So, what are the “The Four Shuns”, you ask.  AmbitION, nurtured by EducatION, allows innovatION, and maybe TeleportatION