Qorvo®, a leading provider of innovative radio frequency (RF) solutions that connect the world, announced that its Spatium® solid state power amplifier (SSPA) technology will play a key role in a new planetary radar experiment using the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. Spatium Technology was originally developed by CAP Wireless, which was acquired by TriQuint in 2013, followed by the merger between RFMD and TriQuint to form Qorvo.
Planetary radars are instrumental in characterizing Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) by providing precision measurement of shape, rotation, position and an estimate of composition. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RI&S) are collaborating on a project to improve planetary radar capabilities that would allow for earlier and more precise analysis of targeted NEOs. Until now, traditional radar has lacked the necessary power to identify and characterize smaller NEOs. Qorvo’s Spatium power amplifier technology offers advantages of higher RF power output and reliability and could play a key role in the next generation of ground-based planetary radar.
NRAO, using an RI&S radar, conducted the first-ever transmission from the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. The test produced detailed images of the Apollo 15 moon landing site by way of a transmitter installed on the Green Bank Telescope. At the heart of this RF transmitter lies Spatium technology, 700 watt, 13-16GHz SSPA providing the power necessary to achieve this technological milestone.
Tony Beasley, Director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Vice President for Radio Astronomy at Associated Universities, said that their first radar study with Raytheon characterized the moon in unexpected ways, and they anticipate that this upcoming study will do the same for Near-Earth Objects. Each milestone they achieve in this and other research and technology collaborations informs and improves their efforts toward the next generation of radio telescopes and observations.
This new capability paves the way for exploring other planets and objects in the solar system without the need to launch additional space probes or satellites. Powerful radar signals have been beamed from Earth into space and bounced from objects in our solar system since the 1950s. Using the Green Bank Telescope and Spatium as a transmitter will increase scientists’ ability to use radar to explore the solar system using ground-based instruments.
Roger Hall, Qorvo’s general manager of High-Performance Solutions, said, “We are proud to be part of this historical technological milestone. Spatium technology provides a unique value proposition in the market and offers customers a solution not available anywhere else. We continue to invest in and develop new standard, higher power derivatives of Spatium products for K, Ka and Ku bands to meet the growing needs of our customers.”
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the Green Bank Observatory are facilities of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities.
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