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Airtech

TRW Ships AstroMesh Reflector

04 July 2000

TRW Inc. has delivered to Hughes Space and Communications Co. the third in a series of four large, lightweight, deployable reflectors designed to serve as an antenna for high-power spacecraft communications systems. Measuring more than 12 meters (40 feet) in diameter and weighing only 55 kilograms (121 pounds), the reflector is one of the largest developed for satellite communications applications, such as mobile communications systems. Its large size enables hand-held voice and data communications from geo-stationary orbit 23,000 miles above the ground. "Our patented AstroMesh(TM) reflectors meet the industry's need for larger antenna apertures on new communications satellites," said James Conlan, president, TRW Astro Aerospace. "Their unique design minimizes the size and mass for launch and reliably deploys in space to form the large dish-shaped antenna reflector. The reflectors are an example of the highly reliable and affordable space deployable products that we've been supplying to the space industry for more than 40 years." AstroMesh reflectors, which have been built in 6-meter and 12-meter designs, are made of a graphite composite tube truss structure that unfolds from a cylindrical stowed shape. When stowed, the reflector folds into a package only 10% of its full diameter.