An Inflatable, Portable Satellite Dish that Fits in a Backpack

Need a satellite link-up, but having trouble finding a reliable dish vendor in the middle of Helmand province? GATR technologies has a solution for you: a four-foot diameter inflatable, man-portable satellite dish that fits in a backpack.

The construction is something like that of one of those huge exercise balls with an antenna in the center. The two layer ball is constructed of one layer of nylon mesh and another made of the same stuff as sails. The ball is actually constructed of two seaparate, hemispheric chambers that divide the sphere right along the center like the equator. By putting more pressure on the antenna side than the back side, the wall dividing the two sides becomes parabolic, just like a rigid satellite dish.

That’s pretty handy, as rigid satellite dishes are heavy–even small ones. For troops in the field that need to link remotely to command or for broadcasters or aid work workers trying to set up communications from remote or devastated parts of the world, such a portable, packable satellite dish cold be an indispensable low-tech tool.

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