Press Release

Northrop Grumman to Provide Antenna for Italy’s Shallow Radar Experiment on NASA’s Mission to Mars

By SpaceRef Editor
February 13, 2004
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Northrop
Grumman Corporation has been awarded a contract
by the Alenia Spazio, Rome, Italy, to provide a di-pole
antenna for Alenia’s SHARAD (SHAllow RADar) experiment to
be flown on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2005.

Alenia is participating in the NASA mission with Italian
funding from the Italian Space Agency (ASI, Agenzia Spaziale
Italiana). This experiment will continue the search for
subsurface water on Mars.

The SHARAD antenna, provided by Northrop Grumman’s Astro
Aerospace business unit, will be less than 3 kilograms and
will be stowed in a small package on the spacecraft for
launch and transit to Mars. Its patented FFTTM structure
will deploy to a length of 10 meters to provide the antenna
geometry required after the spacecraft reaches its final
orbit around Mars.

This antenna uses similar technology to the MARSIS antenna
built by Astro Aerospace for the European Mars Express spacecraft
currently on its way to Mars. The MARSIS antenna will deploy
to 40 meters length after arriving at Mars early next year.

Astro Aerospace, based in Carpinteria, is a business unit
of Northrop Grumman’s Space Technology sector, a leader
in the development of space, defense and electronics systems.
For more than 40 years, Astro Aerospace has pioneered the
technology of space deployable structures. It has a 100
percent success rate on hundreds of flight-specific deployable
units.

SpaceRef staff editor.