The objective of this activity is to design, manufacture and test integrated Q/V/W-band passive RF hardware for ground segment gateways.

Targeted Improvements:

  • Reduction of number of piece parts by at least a factor of 2;
  • Reduction of losses in the order of 0.5 to 2dB due to less RF interfaces;
  • Reduction of effort of assembly, integration and testing.

Description: Very High ThroughputSatellite systems are shifting towards higher frequencies for the feeder link due to the increasing traffic demand. Q/V and W-band areable to provide a large spectrum which allows to free Ka-band for user connectivity. RF components of the gateway feed chain aremainly based on waveguide technology. At high frequency the component dimensions become very small and the manufacturing and tuningis very complex. The impact of flanges and tuning elements in the ohmic losses is significantly higher than lower frequencies, resultingin degraded Noise Figure (NF) and Equivalent Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) at system level. Conventional manufacturing techniquessuch as milling, require to divide the RF block in multiple mechanical parts which are later on connected using flanges and screws.This results in bulky assemblies and large waveguide connections with the consequent impact on ohmic losses. In addition, tuning means are required in order to compensate the manufacturing deviations.

The manufacturing in a single block, reducing the need to waveguide interfacing and shortening the RF interconnections, will allow a higher degree of integration and could consequently contribute to improvements of the RF performance. Advanced manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing, micro-inject moulding, screen printing, metal binder jetting or lithography-based processes have been already used to build proof-of-concept RF hardware at high frequencies. However the achieved TRL is low and additional work has to be performed to evaluate its suitability for the aimed demonstrators. These new concepts could also provide an additional degree of freedom in the design in terms of RF and structural features.Furthermore, the reduction in the number of parts using these methods may lead to a simplification of the overall antenna feed chain.

This activity aims to develop and experimentally validate three breadboards of fully integrated passive feed chains (including Diplexers, OMTs, filters) at Q, V and W-band respectively. The end-to-end manufacturing route for each demonstrator shall be defined and evaluated in terms of mechanical tolerance, yield, surface properties, etc. Critical functions of the RF equipment at the different frequencies shall be designed, manufactured and experimentally validated. Procurement Policy: C(1) = Activity restricted to non-prime contractors (incl. SMEs).

For additional information please go to EMITS news "Industrial Policy measuresfor non-primes, SMEs and RD entities in ESA programmes".

Footnote: A request for initiation has been received for this On Delegation Request activity.

Tender Specifics