University of California, Riverside

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Current Research Directions in Spacecraft Antennas

Current Research Directions in Spacecraft Antennas
Richard E. Hodges
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA

Date: May 3, 2004
Time: 11:00 am
Location: Bourns Hall A265

In the past several years, there has been a substantial increase in funding for space exploration within NASA, the Department of Defense (DoD) and commercial sectors. For example, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory currently lists 22 active missions, including the Mar Exploration Rover, Cassini, Ulysses, Stardust, and Topex/Poseidon. More missions are currently being planned to support the recent lunar and Mars human exploration initiatives. Simultaneously, the military is actively engaged in the development of space-based radar for tactical weapons and surveillance. Requirements imposed by these systems have introduced new challenges for space-based antennas. Radar applications require very large apertures (50–300 m) to achieve the desired resolution. Science applications demand the capability to inexpensively design one-of-a-kind space qualified apertures to meet unique requirements. New design concepts are needed to meet these demands. For example, an intriguing development is the recent discovery that ultra-broadband (bandwidth > 10:1) phased arrays are theoretically feasible, and can operate very efficiently over at least a 50º scan envelope. Another interesting development is the Reflectarray antenna, which incorporates an artificial surface treatment to simulate a magnetic conductor boundary condition. These surface properties permit one to violate Snell's law and design a "flat parabolic reflector".


Richard E. Hodges received the BSEE degree from University of Texas at Austin, the MSEE degree from California State University, Northridge and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Hodges has over 25 years or research and development experience in antennas and electromagnetics. His previous work experience includes Hughes Aircraft Company Radar Systems Group (now Raytheon), Adams-Russell Microwave Products Division (now Rantec), Raytheon Antenna/Nonmetallics Technology Center and JPL. Dr. Hodges currently heads the Spacecraft Antennas Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is responsible for planetary and Earth Science spacecraft antenna development. He served as lead design engineer on the Wide Swath Ocean altimeter (WSOA), and project leader of the JPL's collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory on Space Based Radar antennas. Prior to his return to JPL in 2001, Dr. Hodges was with Raytheon (formerly Texas Instruments) in Dallas, Texas. He was the technical lead on Raytheon's DARPA RECAP program, which resulted in the development of the world's first decade bandwidth (10:1) phased array antenna design. He has been a principal engineer responsible for the design of numerous radar and communications antennas, including electronic scanned arrays, waveguide slot arrays and reflector antennas. Dr. Hodges has also carried out research in the areas of hybrid computational electromagnetics and electromagnetic theory. This work includes development of the Physical Optics Hybrid Method (POHM), Hybrid EFIE-MFIE (HEMI), and early work on hybrid finite element/moment method for JPL's Parallel Computational Electromagnetics group (1990).
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