NASA’s Glenn Research Center and radio manufacturer Harris have jointly developed the first software-defined radio transceiver to operate in the Ka-band.
The accomplishment has garnered the team recognition in R&D Magazine’s “2013 R&D 100 Winners.”
Here’s what the magazine wrote about the new radio and how it will be used for space exploration:
“Radio communication is critical to the success of extraterrestrial exploration and operations. Remote data collection has accelerated rapidly in recent years, requiring greater bandwidth and reliability. Future missions by NASA and other organizations will likely rely on technologies that exploit the Ka-band, a range of frequencies extending from 20 to 30 GHz that allow high-speed broadband Internet connectivity and digital video and audio transmission.
“The NASA/Harris Ka-Band Software Defined Radio (SDR) from NASA Glenn Research Center and Harris is the first SDR transceiver to operate in the Ka-band and sets the stage for replacing unique fixed-function, single-vendor mission radios with reprogrammable SDRs. Qualified for operations aboard the International Space Station, the new radio offers in-orbit re-configuration, multi-waveform operation and fast deployment.
“Compatible with NASA’s existing satellite communications network, the highly modular hardware and software architecture is unique in its use of re-configurable field-programmable gate arrays, a first for SDR.”