First launch elevates Helical to “Flight Heritage Status”
(Rockledge, FL. April 10, 2019) – Helical Communictions Technology (HCT), a Rockledge-based research, design and manufacturer of deployable space-based and ground station antennas, launched their custom-built Quadrifilar Helical Antenna as part of Hiber’s constellation satellites in December, 2018, according to Salvatore Bologna, President of HCT. A second launch with the same technology launched from Vandenberg Air Force Station the same month. This milestone elevates HCT to the status of “Flight Heritage Status” which indicates a company’s first successful satellite launch deployed into space. Very few private companies have reached this milestone.
“This flight heritage milestone opens our doors for more companies wishing to launch satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for future launches,” stated Bologna. “The opportunity to offer daily internet access via modems located in remote regions of the world transmitted to earth-bound existing satellite stations is remarkable. HCT is proud to have been part of this much-needed solution.”
Founded in 2013 by Salvatore Bologna and Gregory O’Neill, HCT began researching and designing a unique omni-directional antenna for “cube-sat” space satellites that capture a much larger footprint of geography and topography on the earth. Cube sats are small, less costly satellites that can be sent into space in large quantity and growth in this sector is expected to skyrocket due to the lower costs to produce. Within four years HCT had developed a design that can be scaled depending on the customer’s requirements to have a wide range of circularly polarized antenna patterns.
Hiber, based in Amsterdam, contracted with HCT to send their nano-satellites or cubesats on this mission with the objective to offer internet connectivity to millions worldwide who lack accessibility to the internet. The company estimates launching dozens of nano satellites within the next year to keep up with demand. HCT also plans to multi-use this antenna to communicate with shipping containers from port of origin to final destination.
HCT designed the custom-built “quadrifilar” helical antennas at their Rockledge-based operations and shipped them to the Netherlands where Hiber’s headquarters are based. Hiber, in turn, added other cubesats and shipped to their launch destinations. In remote regions worldwide, subscribers purchase a low-cost modem which allows them to connect to Hiber’s constellations placed in low earth orbit. The goal is to have a constellation of satellites providing internet from space instead of relying on underwater or above ground cable.
“It is an honor and privilege to work with a company like Hiber, who has strong business ethics,” stated O’Neill. “We anticipate a long and successful relationship with them as they move forward to provide internet connectivity to millions of people who lack that ability in areas where cable internet is simply not realistic.”
In 2017 HCT was selected for the NASA Technology Docking Program, a unique arrangement from the agreement between the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast (EDC) and NASA that awards select companies the opportunity to work with a NASA subject matter expert to review any technology hurdle they may be encountering. Typically only five companies are selected each year. The EDC is the only EDO in the country that offers this service to their local companies.
HCT’s offices in Rockledge, Florida also contain an anechoic chamber for testing radiation patterns without echo effects. Manufacturing is strictly done locally in Brevard County Florida to maintain top quality and frequent inspections. The company has plans to ramp up production rapidly as customer orders increase. They expect a significant upsurge in sales due to market expansion over the next two years as their patented technology is unique, will be manufactured at a lower cost and can be custom built to scale locally depending on the application in any quantity.
Helical Communications Technologies is a research, design and manufacturer of low-cost and reliable deployable antennas for the space-based and ground station communication sector. They additionally offer confidential consultations to military and commercial agencies around the globe. They are located in Rockledge on Florida’s Space Coast, Brevard County Florida.
(Capabilities Brief, Biographies and graphics follow release)
HCT Capabilities Brief
Innovation – Helical Communication Technologies was formed to serve the increasing need for specialized antennas for use with ground based and space based communication with satellites placed in low earth orbit and deep space. Many countries utilize satellite technology for emergency communication as well as for environmental purposes.
Traditional Yagi, Helix and Parabolic antennas on expensive azimuth elevation rotators have been utilized for communicating with satellites. Too often these linear polarized antennas experience deep signal fades making communication unreliable. HCT’s founders have focused their distinctive competence toward the development of the Quadrifilar Helical Antennas or (QHA). This area of study, has been refined to now be able to offer adequate solutions for several customer applications.
The QHA is advantageous in many situations as the ability to receive or transmit a broad beam of circularly polarized radiation while minimizing unwanted radiation is imperative to maintain good communication. These lower cost and smaller dimension circularly polarized antennas are modeled utilizing three dimensional electromagnetic simulation computer software and high definition displays. This software allows company mechanical and electrical engineers to study process tolerance issues and then build specific frequency band prototype antennas in house. Circular polarization is important in space communications as well as to terrestrial mobile applications, because the favorable relative orientation between linear polarized transmitting and receiving antennas is not guaranteed. The uniqueness of this state of the art antenna is that it is not a high gain reflector of an electronically scanned array requiring mechanical steering, but rather, a simple omnidirectional antenna where no position tracking is required
Implementation – Helical Communication Technologies is conveniently located in Florida’s High Tech Corridor on the Space Coast. The company draws seasoned experts in the field of radio frequency and aerospace engineering that participated in NASA’s manned space program. HCT is driven to provide small dimension, high performance antennas at reasonable cost.
Our expert research and development engineers with over 50 years of aggregated experience in the development of ground, aircraft and satellite-based antennas have provided technical advice to domestic as well as international clients. HCT has been called upon to provide antenna design and technologies when others have failed.
HCT capabilities include design and building:
- QHAs for specific satellite transmitting and receiving purposes
- Anechoic Chamber Antenna Pattern Measuring
- Associated Low Noise Amplifiers [LNA]
- Software Defined Receiver Integration [SDR]
- Terrestrial Ground Station Assembly
- Feasibility studies for any current or future communication needs
- Technical Consulting in fields involving Terrestrial and Space based antenna technologies
- Specific Antenna construction for priority tasks
Current developments include deployable space based and ground station antenna designs for Small Satellites and AmSat ground stations as well as construction of complete terrestrial based receiving stations utilizing Satellite Technology for communication and defense purposes. A number of other applications are under development such as for lightning detection, improvements in RFID, Wi-Fi 5G applications and beam-steered array antennas.
ABOUT SALVATORE BOLOGNA:
Salvatore E Bologna serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Helical Communication Technologies of Rockledge Florida. Receiving his graduate education from New York Medical College and undergraduate degree from Long Island University Mr. Bologna has practiced in the medical field since 1981. Since moving to Brevard County in 2001 Mr. Bologna established a commercial real estate construction and holding company that continues to invest in real estate throughout Brevard County. In 2013 he, along with his partner Gregory Oneill, established Helical Communication Technologies. In his spare time Sal volunteers with the Civil Air Patrol as the medical and communications officer in the Merritt Island squadron and flies search and rescue missions for the US Air Force.
ABOUT GREGORY O’NEILL:
Gregory O’Neill serves as Chairman of the Board of Helical Communication Technologies of Rockledge, Florida. Mr. O’Neill holds a Master of Electrical Engineering degree from Midwest College of Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology where he is a Golden Alumni. His career spans over fifty years in development of radio and antenna products for large government contractors such as RCA, Regency Electronics, Rockwell Collins, Ericsson and Skycross and Avidyne. Mr. O’Neill is a senior life member of the IEEE and a life member of the American Radio Relay League and is a volunteer for the American Red Cross involved with Disaster Services Technology. This year, Mr. O’Neill was inducted into the Academy of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.