Communication through Plasma (HyPASS/ReCOMM)
- Plasma generated around a vehicle traveling at hypersonic velocities can be a significant impediment to fixed frequency communications.
- EDA is currently pursuing two methods to improve signal communication through a plasma:
- Real-time antenna matching to the surrounding plasma (HyPASS)
- Localized plasma density reduction (ReCOMM)
- Critical technology for the DoD hypersonic cruise missile program X-51 and follow-on systems:
- This weapon system will depend on GPS navigation for accurate targeting over long ranges
- Also would dramatically improve the radio blackout issue during re-entry of space vehicles
- Use combination of plasma diagnostics and antenna matching technology to dynamically match the vehicle antenna to the changing local plasma environment.
- Use the application of electric and magnetic fields to reduce the plasma density over the antenna, effectively punching a hole through the plasma layer.
- Both approaches can be used in combination to achieve a better solution than either technology alone.
- Density Reduction of up to 80% of initial value
- Estimated 5-10 dB signal improvement with antenna matching as well as providing plasma diagnostics - density, collision frequency, and plasma width
- Expected 25 dB or better improvement in signal reception
Plasma detunes antenna from desired frequency: Measured example of tuning the antenna in plasma environment
Measured reduction in plasma density: Density reduced by 80% in 1 square cm