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July 14, 2011

Inflatable satellite antenna fits in your backpack or carry-on


Think of the possibilities.

Wrote Jesse Emspak in today's New Scientist blog:

A big issue in setting up satellite communications networks is the antennas — it takes time to set them up. In the wake of a big disaster, cell networks can be damaged when towers fall and take months to repair. For television crews and military units, carrying a rigid satellite antenna can be a serious logistical problem, as even a metre-sized dish is quite heavy and difficult to transport.

Enter GATR Technologies, which has designed an inflatable 1.2-metre satellite antenna that can fit into a backpack or airline carry-on and be carried by a single person. The company's antenna looks something like a beach ball. It is a double-layered sphere with one layer a nylon mesh and the other made from sail material. The antenna is in the centre.

The receiving dish divides the sphere's interior into two chambers and by applying pressure to one chamber you can push the antenna into a parabolic shape.

The military is the major customer, though the company also hopes to get some interest from television crews who don't want to go through the trouble of packing an entire satellite-link system up when they travel to areas without roads.


July 14, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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