The antenna is being built for the most powerful U.S. rocket since the Saturn V booster.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has been selected to develop its S-Band phased array antenna for the next-generation U.S. Space Launch System (SLS) under a NASA Research Announcement.
The Ball Reliable Advanced Integrated Network (BRAIN) will deliver a single-solution prototype antenna that allows for sustained high data rate downlink from launch through mission completion. The high-performance antenna is operative for only seven to 12 minutes – the critical amount of time needed for sending telemetry and to video link to the ground during launch phase.
"Ball Aerospace is leveraging our company's extensive phased array antenna expertise for the Defense Department to demonstrate the SLS antenna," says David L. Taylor, Ball Aerospace president and CEO. "Ball's antenna design and adaptability ensures that data will be maintained even in the event of a vehicle anomaly."
The SLS will be the most powerful rocket the U.S. has built since the Apollo-era Saturn V booster, and will carry humans deeper into space than ever before. This is Ball's first contract win for the SLS.
The NASA NRA supports an evolutionary development strategy for SLS that allows for incremental progress within constrained budgets. To achieve this goal, NASA has solicited innovative development concepts from both industry and academic institutions that improve affordability, reliability or performance.