Electron rocket launches R3D2 antenna technology test satellite for DARPA

by | Mar 29, 2019 | Launches, Military space, Satellites, Seradata News, Technology

An Electron rocket built and operated by RocketLab lifted off from the Mahia Penisula launch site in New Zealand at 2327 GMT on 28 March 2019.  Aboard was a satellite called the Radio Frequency Risk Reduction Deployment Demonstration Satellite (aka R3D2) which will test technologies for deployable antennas for the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Specifically R3D2 will deploy a copper-etched Kapton membrane that will expand to a diameter of 2.25 meters to demonstrate the ability of small satellites to carry large deployable antennas needed to support high-bandwidth communications.  MMA Design designed the antenna.  With the satellite integrated by Northrop Grumman and a bus supplied by Blue Canyon Technologies.  The 150 kg satellite was deployed into a 439 x 421 km low Earth orbit at an inclination relative to the equatorial plane of 39.5 degrees.

Illustrative still from video showing R3D2 with its copper-etched Kapton antenna deployed. Courtesy: Northrop Grumman


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