UHF Deployable Helical Antennas for CubeSats
The design process and the deployment mechanism of a quadrifilar helix antenna (QHA) and a conical log spiral antenna (CLSA) are presented. The two antennas are proposed to operate in the UHF frequency band. They are composed of conductors that are embedded and supported by innovative structural techniques. This allows efficient folding, packaging, and deployment once in space. The conductors in the QHA are composed of beryllium copper and are supported by helical arms of S_2 glass fiber reinforced epoxy. The CLSA, on the other hand, has conductors that are made out of a mesh of phosphor bronze and incorporated inside thin insulators composed of continuous fiber composites. The new aspects of these designs lie in their structures and deployment mechanisms. The deployment mechanisms for both antennas include helical pantograph and origami patterns such as Z-folding configurations. Both antennas are fabricated and tested for both deployment and radiation performance. A comparison is executed between both designs, and their potential deployment possibilities from CubeSats are also investigated.
© 2016 IEEE. Manuscript received July 17, 2015; revised March 14, 2016; accepted May 28, 2016. Date of publication June 21, 2016; date of current version September 1, 2016. This work was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under Grant FA9550-13-1-0061.