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Knitted satellite antenna for outer space


Researchers from the Advanced Textiles Research Group (ATRG) are knitting antenna reflectors from high performance gold wire to help send and receive radio signals in orbit. The project – in collaboration with space technology business Oxford Space Systems – is centred on the antennas being lightweight and deployable.

The aim is for the knitted antenna to open like an umbrella and form a parabolic shape to reflect high frequency radio signals.  “Few people associate knitting with high-end space technology,” said project lead Professor Tilak Dias, Head of the ATRG in Nottingham Trent’s School of Art & Design. The wire, which is less than half a millimetre thick, is gold-plated to make it more resistant to the harsh operational environment of space. By using advanced knitting techniques, the researchers aim to produce membrane-like structures that can be shaped into 3D parabolas resembling the ideal reflector antenna geometry.


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