InterTronic wins U.S. Navy competition to replace radio telescope antenna at Kauai, Hawaii
PHILADELPHIA, 18 Oct. 2013. U.S. Navy space researchers needed a 12-meter high-precision radio telescope antenna for high-accuracy measurement of the positions of planets and stars. They found their solution from the InterTronic Antennas segment of InterTronic Solutions Inc. in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Québec.
Officials of the Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk office in Philadelphia are awarding a $2.1 million contract to InterTronic Antennas to build and install a VLBI2010-style radio antenna at Kokee Park Geophysical Observatory (KPGO) on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, in support of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington.
InterTronic designs full-motion high-accuracy pedestal-mount antennas ranging in size from 2 to 12 meters in diameter that have typical pointing and tracking accuracies of better than 0.01 degrees, company officials say. The precise motor-driven antennas are rigid structures are suitable for windy environments.
The U.S. Naval Observatory uses radio telescope data obtained by observing distant astronomical sources for determination of Earth orientation parameters (EOP) and for maintenance of the Celestial Reference Frame (CRF).
Such observations are made by combining data from two or more widely separated radio telescopes with a technique known as Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), Navy officials say.
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The VLBI2010 radio antenna is 12 meters in diameter, has a slew speed of 720 degrees per minute, has a System Equivalent Flux Density (SEFD) sensitivity of 2,500, a frequency band of 2 to 18 GHz, and a recording rate of 2 to 16 gigabits per second. These antennas replace ageing antennas that are as large and cumbersome as 100 feet in diameter, and have nowhere near the frequency and data bandwidth as the new antennas.
The new antenna from InterTronic Antennas will replace a 20-meter VLBI telescope at KPGO that provides data for the Navy and NASA. The existing antenna is nearing the end of its operational life and is in need of replacement with a VLBI2010-type radio antenna.
The Navy conducted a full and open competition to provide the radio telescope antenna, and awarded the contract on 30 Sept. on the deadline of the recent government shutdown.
For more information contact InterTronic Solutions online at www.intertronicsolutions.com, the U.S. Naval Observatory at www.usno.navy.mil/USNO, or the Naval Supply Systems Command at www.navsup.navy.mil/navsup.