RF & Microwave Technology

New Aerogel-Based, Conformal Antenna to Boost Aircraft Performance

Researchers from four NASA centers have collaborated on the creation of a new lightweight, conformal antenna to boost aircraft performance. The antenna is made of aerogels, which have resulted in a thin, flexible antenna substrate with improved gain, bandwidth, and efficiency. It is designed with a new commercial phased array chipset to enable a small-size, low-power solution for beyond line-of-sight communications on small- to medium-scale unmanned aircraft systems. The conformal antenna is designed to minimize drag to gain efficiency compared to a conventional satellite dish. It is made of 64 small antennas that combine to perform the function of one large antenna.