European Space Agency

A3M - Active Antenna Amplifier Module

Objectives

The key objectives of the A3M project are:

  1. The evaluation of heat sink concepts and manufacturing processes for mounting the MMIC
  2. The evaluation and characterization of MMIC chipsets
  3. The development and the detailed design of low loss interfaces.
  4. The accommodation of active and passive RF components to optimize the mechanical envelope
  5. The detailed design and manufacturing of a prototype Ku-Band Tx amplifier module based on available components with the goal to validate the proposed concept

Challenges

Based on the upcoming market needs the development of innovative core technologies for high integrated transmit and receive modules, especially designed for active antenna applications, are key. In general, the target areas are data applications in the GEO and MEO space segment and LEO mega constellation purposes. Compared to traditional amplifier equipment the key challenges are the request for very compact RF modules with optimized efficiency to minimize the power dissipation within the active antenna. However, the different mission profiles, e.g. GEO vs. LEO mega constellation, provide different performance and cost requirements.

Benefits

Over various workshops and co-engineering sessions with our major customers and from various request for proposals, Tesat sees the trend towards active antennas for GEO and MEO applications. With the TESAT core capabilities within passive and active equipment, we are able to provide mass and footprint optimized RF modules, for implementation into a highly integrated active antenna.

Features

The advantage of a system with active antennas is the enormous flexibility to generate the needed beams for a dedicated business case. Especially for service providers, an active antenna provides the flexibility to change the complete frequency plan and associated spot beams.

System Architecture

The high level architecture of each amplifier section consists of:

  • Housing and RF transition
  • Active RF part

The housing and RF transition itself consists of:

  • An optimized mechanical structure
  • RF interfaces
  • Optimized thermal structure

The active RF magazine itself consists of:

  • SSPA or LNA RF line-up
  • Phase / Gain adjustment via TM/TC
  • Phase & gain tracking to comply to array antenna requirements

Mainbus & TM/TC interface

Plan

The project is divided into 5 main work packages:

  • WP1000: Program management
  • WP2000: Components and Technology
  • WP3000: Demonstrator detailed Design
  • WP4000: Procurement, Manufacturing, Test
  • WP5000: Project Close-Out

 The project 4 main milestones are:

MS1: Kick-off Meeting at the beginning of the project (T0 + 0 months)

MS2: Progress Meeting after finalisation of WP3000 (T0 + 4 months)

MS3: PDR after finalisation of WP2000 and WP3000 (T0 + 6 months)

MS4: Final presentation at the end of the project (T0 + 9 months)

Current status

Feasibility study ongoing.

Recent achievements:

  • Specification definition
  • Design description

Status date

Friday, January 24, 2020 - 11:31