GPS PNT Flexible Satellite

Period of Performance: 06/19/2014 - 03/02/2015


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

First RF Corp.
5340 Airport Blvd. Array
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


ABSTRACT: In the nearly 36 years since the first NAVSTAR GPS satellite was launched, GPS has grown into one of the most important and widespread technologies used by modern military and civilian systems. While the legacy GPS constellation continues to provide support for most military applications, there is growing demand to identify and implement augmentation systems to enhance the capability of the constellation with the objective of ensuring more robust GPS service especially in regions where service is inconsistent, and/or where better accuracy is required. It is clear that the next generation of PNT satellite solutions must be capable of unprecedented flexibility and capability. As with previous implementations of GPS satellites, FIRST RF recognizes that a primary enabler to the overall capability of future GPS augmentation satellites and a main driver for their overall size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) is the main mission antenna. In response to the requirements of this solicitation, FIRST RF proposes to optimize, build, and test a revolutionary multifunctional array during Phase I. This array not only provides improved performance in support of legacy GPS functions, but also reuses the same array to implement a moderate-gain switched-beam mode which provides up to 5dB of additional gain in an electrically-steerable regional beam. BENEFIT: FIRST RF has carefully reviewed all aspects of the publically-available GPS specification documents (including IS-GPS-800C and IS-GPS-200G) and baselined a proposed antenna design that will be compliant with all requirements. We believe that it is necessary to be conservative yet innovative to succeed in contributing to future GPS programs. In that spirit, we believe that by demonstrating our proposed antenna system s compliance with these requirements, we will streamline qualification and testing of our antenna, and reduce the risk of inserting this work into an operational system. At the same time, we believe our approach addresses many of the key shortcomings of the current GPS constellation and provides a flexible and scalable architecture that is applicable to not only legacy GPS platforms, but also to tailored GPS augmentation missions.