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Edited by Christian Lowe | Contact

Inflatable Antenna Helps Ole Miss

Sure, this press release is a bit self-serving -- aren't they all? But since the Missile Defense Agency hasn't been able to pull off its main mission, the Agency might as well toot its horn about some of the ancillary benefits that come from its anti-missile research.


Technology developed for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has been leveraged to support relief operations in the wake of hurricane Katrina.

Paul Gierow, owner of Ground Antenna Transmit/Receive, a small business working on a contract under MDA’s Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program, has been developing and constructing lightweight, inflatable satellite antennas for possible use in GMD communication applications. The 2.5 meter antenna system can be set up rapidly by inserting four stakes into the ground, inflating the antenna ball, and pointing it at a satellite. Comparable conventional mobile satellite dish systems weigh tons and must be driven in on trucks.

Soon after it became apparent that Katrina would affect the Gulf Coast’s communication infrastructure, Gierow was contacted by the White House Communications Agency, where he had delivered a briefing on the antenna technology. That agency asked Gierow to provide 200 of the antennas for the recovery effort, but Gierow had only one working antenna at the time that could be delivered on such short notice. Working with Senator Jeff Sessions’ office, MDA authorized $50,000 of SBIR funding to initiate the effort to get the antenna to the storm-damaged area. Gierow volunteered his time to deliver the antenna and arrived with it in Woolmarket, Miss. soon after the storm hit.

(Big ups: Dan)

THERE'S MORE: The guerilla geeks are back in New Orleans, setting up comms for the locals there.


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This is the kind of innovation that should be rewarded.

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