Spacecraft Features MITRE Antenna that Could Benefit Government
Communications and ISR Missions

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Analytical Space Inc. (ASI) is launching a technology demonstration
spacecraft intended to pave the way for users on the ground to gain
faster access to satellite data. The spacecraft features a patented
MITRE antenna that could help enable that application, as well as
government missions including tactical communications and intelligence,
surveillance, and reconnaissance.

ASI’s 3U CubeSat, dubbed Meshbed, will perform on-orbit testing of
MITRE’s Frequency-scaled Ultra-wide Spectrum Element (FUSE) antenna. The
initial on-orbit demonstration will be dedicated to data collection to
explore U.S. government applications for the MITRE technology. Meshbed
will then shift its focus to testing ASI’s data relay capability,
expanding on the testing achieved by its tech demo predecessor, Radix,
which deployed from the International Space Station in 2018.

MITRE developed the FUSE antenna in collaboration with the U.S. Naval
Research Laboratory as part of an effort to conserve topside space on
ships. This new class of antennas has a novel electromechanical
interface that eliminates the need for radio frequency connectors,
reducing cost, weight and size. The company recently received three
patents for FUSE, which has been successfully demoed in the field, and
some of the technology has been transitioned as a multi-function system.
R&D Magazine recently honored the MITRE team with an R&D
100 award
for the FUSE antenna.

A new variation of the antenna built entirely of metal was further
developed at MITRE. The latest breed (patent-pending) is scalable for
CubeSat missions, maintains the same features from the original
invention, and is produced at a more compelling price-point because of
the use of metal additive manufacturing (AM) technologies. By solving
the problem of fitting a wideband antenna onto a CubeSat and
demonstrating that it can operate in the harsh space environment, FUSE
will accelerate the development of high-performance and multi-function
systems, with a wide range of applications that includes military use
and commercial satellite communications.

Incorporating the wide frequency range of FUSE on Meshbed will enhance
the satellite’s capacity to communicate with other satellites, a
critical component of ASI’s data relay service. Together with the
results from Radix, the testing performed on Meshbed will inform the
development of future capabilities in ASI’s global network. The network
will dramatically expand the downlink capacity of Earth observation
satellites, which currently face severe constraints relaying data.

MITRE and ASI began working together through the MassChallenge
startup accelerator as part of MITRE’s Innovation
Bridge
activities, an initiative to connect startups with government
agencies.

“This partnership demonstrates our agility in collaborating with
commercial and not-for-profit partners to develop innovative solutions,”
says Dan Nevius, CEO of ASI. “We’re looking forward to working with
MITRE to continue developing and testing innovative solutions to meet
government needs while fostering growth in the commercial sector.”

“This is a great example of MITRE’s ability to take technology developed
to solve a difficult challenge for one of our government sponsors and
accelerate technology development via government / commercial-partnered
collaborative environment at an affordable cost,” said Jay Schnitzer,
MITRE’s chief technology officer. “Working together with government and
industry, we can apply our deep expertise to solve potential barriers to
the effective use of small space systems.”

References:

[1] US Patents# 9,991,605, and 10,056,699 and 10,141,638.

About MITRE

MITRE’s mission-driven teams are dedicated to solving problems for a
safer world. Through public-private partnerships, as well as the
operation of federally funded R&D centers, we work across government to
tackle challenges to the safety, stability, and well-being of our nation.

Learn more at MITRE.org

About Analytical Space Inc.

Analytical Space is launching a network of relay satellites that will
provide a high-speed data connection for Earth observation satellites.
ASI’s network will allow satellite operators to generate more data and
get it to the ground faster, all while using their existing hardware. By
dramatically expanding downlink capacity, our network will unlock new
possibilities for innovation in space, and enable insights to optimize
the global economy.

© 2019 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.

Contacts

Jeremy Singer
[email protected]
781.271.2412