European Space Agency

New family of Very High Power TNC connectors take flight

Image credit: Radiall

Continual growth in demand for high-definition broadcasting and other power-intensive satellite services are driving the market for evermore powerful satellite payloads. In response to this development, French space technology firm Radiall has designed and qualified a complete range of TNC Very High Power coaxial connectors and cable assemblies. These improve upon the current TNC product line that is not optimized regarding multipactor discharge, corona, and power-handling capabilities. TNC connectors and cable assemblies are key basic components in modern satellites as they are used to connect the main components of the payload.

Radiall’s concept for the new product line was initiated in response to an ARTES Advanced Technology (formerly 5.1) Call for Proposals which identified the need for a new generation of high-power TNC connectors. As part of the initial ARTES Advanced Technology activity, Radiall embarked upon development and evaluation of potential solutions for a line of Very High Power connectors for L-, S- and C-Band applications.

After various technical challenges were overcome, the company continued with an ARTES Competitiveness & Growth (formerly 3-4) activity in order to qualify the new connectors for use as a replacement for existing waveguide technlogy

This resulted in Radiall being able to launch a highly competitive new TNC connector product line that conforms to the space industry’s ESCC specification. Its new range of connectors and cable assemblies offer significant power performance improvements in comparison to the previous generation of ESCC TNC connectors, with RF power at 1GHz rated to 400WCW and 2000W peak, operating above 100°C. They are also 100% compatible with the existing generation of TNC connectors currently on the market. In total, fourteen variants have been developed and qualified.

Among the forthcoming missions to be flying the newly qualified components will be the next generation of Galileo navigation satellites and several telecommunications platforms.

“ESA’s vast technical expertise was instrumental during the qualification and validation process,” says Olivier Berenfeld, Space Products Manager at Radiall. “Thanks to this expertise, we were able to determine what needed to be tested and how. The critical power and multipactor tests, for example, we were able to perform at ESA’s extensive technical facilities.”

“Thanks in part to the support of ESA through the ARTES programme, we’ve now achieved a strongly competitive position in the global market for TNC connectors”, he adds. “We’re currently the only supplier with an ESCC-compliant product range. We’ve achieved a very ambitious target, in terms of power requirements, while also ensuring the new design addresses market needs.”

“Compared to existing waveguide technology, Radiall’s new TNC product range allows spacecraft manufacturers to build and configure payloads with much higher power requirements,” says ESA Component Engineer Léo Farhat, Technical Officer for the ARTES-supported activities.

Published 19 June 2017
Last updated at 06 November 2017 - 16:35