Title: A Deployable 4 Meter 180 to 680 GHz Antenna for the Scanning Microwave Limb Sounder
Author: Richard Cofield
Organization: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Co-Authors: Eldon P. Kasl, Mark W. Thomson, William G. Read, Gregory S. Agnes, Nathaniel J. Livesey, Paul C. Stek
The Scanning Microwave Limb Sounder (SMLS) is a space-borne heterodyne radiometer which will measure pressure, temperature and atmospheric constituents from thermal emission between 180 and 660 GHz. SMLS, planned for the Global Atmospheric Composition Mission of the NRC Decadal Survey, uses a novel toric Cassegrain antenna to perform both elevation and azimuth scanning. These provide better horizontal and temporal resolution and coverage than were possible with elevation-only scanning at typical Low-Earth orbit spacing in the two previous MLS satellite instruments.
Development of the SMLS antenna was the focus of a 2006 SBIR whose phase II culminated in the fabrication and thermal stability testing of a composite demonstration model of the SMLS primary reflector. This reflector has the full 4m height and 1/3 the width planned for flight. An IIP-10 project titled "A deployable 4 Meter 180 to 680 GHz antenna for the Scanning Microwave Limb Sounder" continues development of the SMLS antenna with the study of 5 topics: 1) detailed mathematical modeling of the antenna patterns from which we simulate geophysical parameter retrievals in order to establish FOV performance requirements; 2) thorough correlation of finite-element model predictions with measurements made on the SBIR reflector. We will again measure deformations of this reflector, under more flight-like thermal gradients, using higher precision metrology techniques available in a new large-aperture facility at JPL; 3) fabrication of a full-width primary reflector whose as-built surface figure will better meet the figure requirements of SMLS than did the SBIR panel; 4) integration of the primary with other reflectors, and with residual front ends built in a 2007 IIP, in a breadboard antenna; and finally 5) RF testing of the breadboard on a Near Field Range at JPL.
We report on significant progress in 3 areas of the current IIP: development of the mathematical model to predict SMLS antenna patterns and their application in a preliminary set of geophysical retrievals; the correlation between surface deformation predicted by finite element models and measurement in the 2009 isothermal stability tests of the SBIR, with implications for the thermal gradient testing to be performed at JPL; and aspects of the conceptual design of the full-width primary reflector to be fabricated and tested in the 2nd and 3rd years of the IIP.