L3Harris is creating an digital antenna to manage and monitor army satellites
Col. Wallace “Rhett” Turnbull of the Space and Missile Systems Center said that advanced antenna technology will be required to meet the growing demand for satellite control capacity.
WASHINGTON – L3Harris Technologies announced on Jan. 12 that development of an electronic phased array ground antenna for the US Space Force has been completed.
The prototype of a “multi-band, multi-mission” antenna is one of three antennas that were developed under a contract with the Defense Innovation Unit 2019. Lockheed Martin and Atlas Space Operations have also completed prototypes.
The DIU program was intended to investigate the available commercial ground antenna technology to help the Space Force improve communications with their satellites. A single phased array antenna can communicate with multiple satellites over different frequency bands. The military’s traditional parabolic or radio antennas can only contact one satellite at a time.
The antenna developed by L3Harris – like that of Lockheed Martin and Atlas Space – was incorporated into the Space Force’s satellite control network to demonstrate multiple simultaneous satellite contacts. The SCN is an aging network of parabolic antennas around the globe that are used to fly military satellites.
The phased array antenna demonstrations “demonstrated the advances in phased array technology and its relevance to satellite guidance and control with live DoD systems,” said Col. Wallace “Rhett” Turnbull, director of cross-mission ground and communications company at Space and Missile Systems Center.
Turnbull said advanced antenna technology will be required to meet “growing demand for satellite control capacity by providing more affordable and stable access to Space Force satellite systems.”
The Space and Missile Systems Center has not yet decided what type of electronically controlled antennas it will buy for the satellite control network.