Founded in 2004, GATR's inflatable antenna system concept grew out of an internal company investment and two Department of Defense (DoD) Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contracts: one with the Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) and the other with Air Force Research Labs (AFRL). Many of the early technologies used in the development of the GATR system were first intended for space, but the technologies proved to be even more useful in ground applications.
The GATR made one of its first debuts in the market following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Prompted by a request from the White House Communications Agency, GATR President Paul Gierow traveled to Woolmarket, MS, near Biloxi, with a prototype version of the antenna system and provided the only Internet connection in Harrison County. The GATR created a way for more than 250 families to request federal assistance, for rescue workers and medical personnel to have access to the information they needed, and for a broadcast network to send reports back to its home station. The debut also served as a powerful demonstration of how quickly and easily the system could be transported and operational in a disaster situation.
In 2006, the new antenna system had gathered momentum and attention. That year, GATR Technologies was selected as a recipient of the Tibbetts Award, which recognizes significant achievements involving technology innovation related to the federal SBIR Program. In 2008, GATR's technology was transitioned to the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) for evaluation. SOCOM made the GATR inflatable antenna an evolutionary component to the SOCOM Deployable Node (SDN) family of SATCOM terminals. That year, GATR met the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) main beam envelope requirements and received FCC licensing for several VSAT networks.
In 2009, SOCOM issued a Phase III SBIR sole source contract to GATR to procure terminals. In addition, GATR landed on Inc. Magazine's List of America's Fastest Growing Companies, and the GATR system was named one of Inc's Hottest Products of the Year. GATR has maintained its presence on Inc.'s list every year since.
Since 2009, GATR has offered corporate support (equipment, satellite time, and personnel) to relief efforts following the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the rash of Alabama tornados on April 27, 2011, and the recent Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. GATR was also recently was issued an IDIQ contract from SOCOM to secure future system procurements.
Currently GATR is the only company in the world that produces inflatable SATCOM antennas.