The U.S. Air Force announced that Lockheed Martin has been selected to continue development of the Innovative Space Based Radar Antenna Technology, known as ISAT.
The contract, valued at $19.5 million, is for the next phase of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) ISAT project, administrated by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
Lockheed Martin will continue development of the ISAT Flight Demonstration Experiment design over the next 14 months, which will take it to the Critical Design Review (CDR) maturity level.
Following the CDR, DARPA and the Air Force plan to select a contractor to build and deploy a scale version of the antenna for a one-year proof of technology experiment in low earth orbit.
"We are very pleased DARPA and the Air Force have selected our team to continue development of this highly innovative technology that will lead to significant improvements in extremely large antenna capability in space," said Tom Scanlan, vice president of Special Programs at Lockheed Martin Space Systems.
"Our novel design work during the previous phase of this program, developed together with our teammates at Harris Corporation, has demonstrated the feasibility of deploying an extremely large, electronically scanning antenna in space that will help enable global persistent surveillance."
The objective of the ISAT program is to create and demonstrate technology for very long space-borne electronically scanning antenna.
The demonstration experiment will use an antenna extending about 100 meters (325 feet) in length; the full scale version is designed to extend 300 meters.
The full scale antenna payload would be folded up to about the size of a sport utility vehicle and placed inside a payload fairing atop the launch vehicle.
Once deployed in space, the antenna's length would be similar to the height of the Empire State Building. Such a lightweight and lengthy antenna could significantly increase global persistent surveillance coverage.
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