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AFRL’s Early Testing of the Multi-Arm Radial Composite (MARCO) Reflector

Dept. of Defense

Photo credit: Marble Street Studio

The Multi-Arm Radial Composite (MARCO) Reflector was developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate with the aim of lowering the recurring cost of a deployed antenna reflector when compared to heritage mesh reflector systems. In contrast to a mesh reflector, MARCO utilizes high-strain composite shells as the reflector aperture and simplified assembly techniques, leading to reduced labor costs. The antenna has a deployed diameter of 4 meters and packages into a cylinder of 0.66 meters in diameter and 1.1. meters high.

Located at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., the Space Vehicles Directorate serves as the Air Force's Center of Excellence for space technology research and development, and develops and transitions space technologies to provide space-based capabilities to the warfighter while always addressing affordability, efficiencies, and operations need. The directorate operates on 438,000 square feet of laboratory and office space, and supports over 50 state-of-the-art research laboratories and testing structures at Kirtland.

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