GPS Antenna for Spinning Satellite

Period of Performance: 05/18/1999 - 02/18/2000


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Magnetic Sciences
367 Arlington Street
Acton, MA 01720
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


There is a need for satellite position determination during launch and in orbit. During different phases of operation the satellite could be spinning up to 60 revolutions per minute and spin axis tumbling. The satellite position can be determined by an onboard GPS receiver that continuously tracks all-in-view GPS satellites. The objective of this effort is to complete the design of the GPS antenna system and evaluate how well it will meet the Air Force requirements. A low profile GPS microstrip antenna element was designed for this proposal, producing circular polarization at both GPS frequencies L1 and L2. Microstrip patch GPS antennas are often used on missiles, the proposed element is adapted from that demonstrated design. Preliminary impedance match and pattern data was computed for the element which shows good impedance match and element patterns at L1 and L2. The element would be placed at several locations on the satellite. Antenna architectures, element location, and beam control are discussed, with advantages of several architectures compared. This effort will be performed by a Principal Investigator with extensive antenna design experience including patch antennas on missiles, GPS antennas, satellite tracking and communications antennas, and computer-aided design of antennas.