European Space Agency



The primary objective of the Cielo project is to design and develop a fully functioning Ka Band transceiver at a competitive price point. The proposed new transceiver will offer significant cost savings when compared to the previous generation.

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This will be achieved by the following key changes to the product design:

  • The transceiver will be a fully integrated product. A single base casting will be used for both the transmitter and receiver, and the OMT will be incorporated into this casting. Thus the number of waveguide interconnects will be reduced from 3 to 1. Also, some transmitter and receiver functions will be combined onto a common circuit board, reducing the number of PCB's and reducing total size and component cost.

  • Bare die used in the current BUC will be replaced by SMD's. This will yield a pure SMD solution, allowing the use of board space to be better optimised. Also, employing SMD technology will allow the RF circuit boards to be manufactured using similar technologies to those used for Ku-band LNB's, thus greatly reducing the manufacturing costs, compared to the current 'chip and wire' technology employed in the first generation products.


Integrating transmitter, receiver and OMT into a single housing represents a significant step with associated technical risk. However this approach has already been proven in the Skyware industrialized Ku band transceiver, KR1214.

Whilst this fully integrated design has many benefits, there are also drawbacks. Principal among these is the heating of the receiver section by the high powered transmitter. This has meant detailed thermal design studies of the fins and mechanical housing.

The manufacturing and selection of appropriate filters will be one of the key issues to resolve in the manufacturing process.

The final key issue will be the achievement by the MMIC suppliers of a packaged chip suitable for SMD.


It is the purpose of this product is to address new Ka commercial opportunities, leading to a fully integrated product, ready for full industrialization. The new product design will lead to wider access to interactive satellite services due to improved performance and reduced BoM & manufacturing costs. Compared to existing designs, the new product will be significantly smaller and more aesthetically pleasing.

Given that most of the commercial opportunities thus far are targeted at residential/SOHO market, the ease of installation of a single unit as well as the size become even more important.


The proposed transceiver will be the radio module of a Ka Two Way Satellite System. The transceiver will be designed to be compatible with 1. market available Ka Band reflectors/feedhorns and 2. Modems (IDUs).

The KR3000 Ka-band transceiver series will incorporate the traditional ODU components: transmitter (BuC), a receiver (LNB), and OMT into a single mechanical structure. This will require the following board designs: RX Board, TX Board, and IF Board.

The product will offer the following new functions,

  • L-Band IFL for the BUC with 75© interface (with S-band IFL option)

  • Externally referenced PLDRO (with internally referenced option)

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On the left is a detailed overview of the key submodules of the unit to be designed.


The initial part of the project, a concept design phase, has been completed. The key areas studied were: thermal design, filter concept design, electrical concept design and a MMIC packaging feasibility study.

With the completion of the electrical concept design, the overall radio architecture and likely board materials have been chosen. These have fed into the detailed electrical design of the five main circuit boards (TX RF, RX RF and IF).

With the conclusion of the MMIC packaging feasibility study, a decision has been made over what approach to adopt for packaging the MMIC's.

Currently, the detailed design (mechanical and electrical) of the product has been completed. This development has included several iterations & trial integrations. 5 prototype units are in the process of being built and fully evaluated/tested.

Current status

The 6 prototypes have been built and thoroughly tested and evaluated. The test reports are now available for review which will be held end May 2005.

Status date

Tuesday, June 2, 2009 - 12:24