Harris-NASA Team Receive R&D 100 Award for New Ka-band SDR Technology

Harris NASA AppStar

Harris Corporation’s AppStar Chassis. Photo: Harris Corporation

[Via Satellite 11-08-13] The Harris Corporation was honored with an R&D 100 award for developing a reconfigurable space-borne radio as part of a NASA-led team. The awards, presented annually by R&D Magazine, recognize the 100 most technologically significant innovations from across the United States.

Space-based remote data collection has accelerated rapidly in recent years, requiring greater bandwidth and reliability to relay the data. Future missions by NASA and other government and commercial organizations will rely on Ka-band frequency technologies to provide high-speed broadband connectivity for data, digital video and audio transmission. The Harris/NASA team developed the first space-qualified, software-defined radio (SDR) that operates in the high-capacity Ka-band frequency range. It sets the stage for replacing unique fixed-function mission radios with reprogrammable SDRs offering in-orbit reconfiguration, multi-waveform operation and fast deployment.

The Harris SDR is operational onboard the International Space Station, where it has been successfully reprogrammed and demonstrated high-speed data transmissions through the NASA Tracking Data Relay Satellite system. The Harris AppStar reconfigurable payload architecture significantly reduced the development cost and schedule of the SDR. AppStar’s software-defined architecture enables ground mission planners to reconfigure and change the functionality of the radio during a mission by uploading or modifying software.

The effort was a cooperative program between Harris and the NASA Glenn Research Center. Harris Corporation’s Jeff Anderson and Kevin Moran, along with four NASA researchers, accepted the award on behalf of the team.

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