Planet Fox > Microwaves > Interesting Microwave Antennas in the Wild > NASA IV&V Facility

NASA IV&V Facility, Fairmont WV

This is a 10 meter C band satellite antenna manufactured by Andrew before it was bought by Commscope, which spun the satellite antenna division off as a separate company, ASC Signal, in 2007, which means it was installed some time before that date. My memory is terrible, but I think it was put in some time around 2005. There's a smaller C-band downlink/TVRO antenna behind it with a dual polarity feed.

This type of antenna uses what's called a Cassegraine feed; the feedhorn protrudes from the center of the dish, pointing at a small sub-reflector that illuminates the dish. This dish has a gas powered de-icer that blows warm air between the back surface of the dish's reflector and the fiberglass backing panels. There's also a tube that blows warm air over the feedhorn. The two spikes sticking out of the top are for lightning/ESD protection, they're meant to reduce the buildup of static electricity that would attract a lightning strike.

I'm not sure what it's used for here, this type of antenna can be used as a high performance downlink or as an uplink antenna. The facility it's attached to is the NASA IV&V facility in Fairmont WV. IV&V stands for "independent verification and validation", which means they do something vague relating to software used on NASA spacecraft. I got to take a look around this facility a few years ago, but the guy that was showing me around either didn't know anything about this dish, or its use falls into the category of stuff I'm not allowed to know about, like the room where they do the alien autopsies or the underground maze they keep all the space lasers in.

Making a cameo appearance, you can see Jesus' golfball behind the dish.

Map Coordinates

39.428455° N 80.197075° W

Street Address

5001 NASA Blvd
Fairmont WV

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