Northrop Grumman Astro Aerospace’s AstroMesh for NASA JPL’s SMAP

Astro SMAP Press Kit

(courtesy of NASA JPL)

Northrop Grumman AstroMesh® Reflector Successfully Deploys for NASA's SMAP Satellite

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory successfully deployed the mesh reflector and boom aboard the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft, a key milestone on its mission to provide global measurements of soil moisture.

Launched on January 31st, SMAP represents the future of Earth Science by helping researchers better understand our planet. SMAP's unmatched data capabilities are enabled in part by the largest spinning mesh reflector ever deployed in space, designed and built by Astro Aerospace, a Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) company. The reflector and boom are a critical system for SMAP, allowing the observatory to measure soil moisture levels around the world every two to three days.

SMAP is the first application of Astro Aerospace's new AstroMesh-Lite(R) reflector. This ultralight and extremely stiff reflector is ideally suited for high frequency communications and radar applications. Through the detection of radar emissions reflected off the soil, SMAP data will help improve weather and climate prediction models by increasing our understanding of the processes that link Earth's water, energy and carbon cycles.

SMAP Mission Video (courtesy of NASA JPL)

Extended Mission Video (courtesy of NASA)


Technical Origami


Why SMAP?
SMAP data will improve weather and climate prediction models by increasing our understanding of the processes that link Earth's water, energy and carbon cycles.

Data from SMAP will help:

  • Improve Weather Forecasts
  • Monitor Droughts
  • Predict Floods
  • Assist Crop Productivity
  • Detail Water, Energy & Carbon Cycles
Learn more about SMAP from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

 

Why AstroMesh®?

Astro's ultralight and extremely stiff AstroMesh® reflector is ideally suited for high frequency communications and radar applications, like SMAP.

Upon successful deployment, the AstroMesh® will be the first large, spinning, deployable reflector mesh, and provide a major component for SMAP's data gathering.

The AstroMesh® unfurlable mesh antenna reflector technology is the most advanced and reliable large aperture deployable reflector available today. Apertures can range from 3 to 50 meters in diameter, covering radio frequencies UHF to beyond Ka-band. The AstroMesh performance record is unmatched with all of its reflectors deploying successfully on-orbit without incident or failure.

AstroMesh® Unfurlable Antenna Benefits

  • Multiple flight proven designs on-orbit that can accommodate demanding packing and environmental requirements
  • Mesh surface accuracies capable of Ka-band and beyond
  • Perimeter truss structure is inherently stiff yet lightweight
  • Perimeter truss and mesh surface design allow for unprecedented packing efficiency
  • Controlled and predictable deployments proven by 100 percent on-orbit success
  • Deployment kinematics that are verifiable in a 1g environment
  • Flight-proven deployment mechanisms
  • Stiff, robust, lightweight and reliable flight-proven deployment booms and pointing mechanisms
  • A proven PIM-free design and in-house PIM testing capabilities
  • Expertise in space systems design and production, specializing in space mechanisms and deployable structures
  • Industry leader in composite/metallic bonded joint design and fabrication

Learn more about AstroMesh here

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