European Space Agency

Compact Ka - Compact Solutions for the Ka-Band Input Receive Section


With a trend to have payloads with large number of Ka transponders or multi-spot architecture satellites, to provide a compact solution for Ka- Band reception equipment not only has huge advantages but is sometimes the only suitable solution.

Mass, footprint, power consumption and cost-effective solutions are mandatory in a market that claims for an improvement with regards to the stand-alone traditional approach.

Compared to its equivalent stand-alone, modular DoCon/Receiver and LNA  means a cost  reduction of  up  to  20%,  with  figures  for  power consumption, mass and footprint reaching improvements of up to 40%. Modularity is a must to give answer to as many different configurations as possible too.

Compact Ka goal is to provide this modular and flexible full solution with low noise amplification in the operational uplink frequency band and down- conversion to the downlink frequency band of a variable number of channels at a certain frequency translation plan each.

The goal is challenging and includes taking these new developments to a full qualification process to mitigate risks for a potential future contract, not only for the afore mentioned equipment, but including CPSU and MLO solutions.


Keeping sate of the art performances while providing such flexibility in main electrical parameters of the developed equipment has suppose a huge challenge that has allow us to develop more accurate engineering tools and models, has force us to improve internal manufacturing and testing skills and capabilities, and has lead us to implement, improve and consolidate the full MHIC manufacturing processes including qualification activities.


The product developed under Compact-Ka gives full solution to the Ka Payload. Customer has the possibility to ask for a subassembly including our Ka brand products and mitigate compatibility issues.

Our product offers state of the art noise figure for the Ka Band, ultra-low phase noise features having currently the lowest phase noise in the market, and the widest variable gain setting range keeping the rest of performances at the highest standards of the market.

Centralized elements, CPSU and MLOs, are fully compatible with other equipment developed in Sener offering a flexible solution for other frequency bands as well.

New developed products take direct advantage of the main features included in the Compact-Ka solution and are widely selected by our customers.


LNA: slice Ka LNA with less than 110gr per LNA, is available in two different gain configurations, one commandable between 30 and 37dB, and the other commandable between 37 and 47dB. State of the art noise figure as low as 2.2dB under hot conditions for the full 4GHz bandwidth from 27 to 31GHz, makes this LNA one of the best and more flexible in its frequency range.

RCV&DOCON: converting from 27-31GHz input to 17.2 – 21.2GHz output with a noise figure contribution of 2dB typically for the receiver and less than 13dB for the down-converter, this product comes with two gain options and 8dB commandable gain range providing outstanding linearity of up to 33dBm OIP3 in a very small package of typically 172gr.

MLO: developed with frequency options between 7 and 12GHz, in both SPD and PLL versions that allow huge possible frequency settings, this device provides between 7 and 15dBm of output power with outstanding phase noise performance linked to TCXO/OCXO characteristic as low as - 40 to -60 dBc/Hz @ 10Hz, -70 to -85 dBc/Hz @ 100Hz, -125dBc/Hz @ 100kHz and -155dBc/Hz @ 10MHz, in a small 75x33x120mm package of less than 190gr.

System Architecture

Developed hardware is intended to be as flexible and configurable as possible. It consists on different slices that can be placed together in a variable number of units depending on application needs, to fit different redundancy schemes, or to fill different number of antenna elements. All slices are biased from the same CPSU, that can command the different gain commandable settings, switch on and off the loads and receive the different status signals. Receivers and/or down-converters received as well LO signal from MLO slices that can be configured as N&R and can be stacked as well following the same design approach.

Full solution pretends to be a response covering as much scenarios as possible for the Ka-type payloads.


This development is divided in the following phases:

  • Phase 1 (Ko to PDR) → The objective of this phase is to establish internal and external interfaces, perform all necessary analyses and propose a design for the PDR review.
  • Phase 2 (PDR to CDR) →The main objective of this phase is to demonstrate by Analysis and with the EM results that the proposed design is  compliant with the program requirements, and it is sufficiently mature to proceed with the manufacturing of EQMs.
  • Phase 3 (CDR to FR) → The purpose of this phase is to manufacture and test the EQM models. A FR is held at the end of phase in order to review the results of the qualification test campaign and to assess the work carried out during the project.

Current status

The outcome of the Compact Ka development for the full family of products (CPSU, LNA Ka, RCV & DNC Ka-Ka and LO) is as follows:

  • All EQM models manufactured and fully qualified (LNA Ka, DCN Ka-Ka, LO).
  • QCI for the hybrids are successfully completed (LNA Ka, RX Ka- Ka).

Several possible improvements have been identified for future activities, as:

  • Enclosure reinforcement to increase the rejection for improving EMC performance (minor variations from the EQM model).
  • LNA temperature variation can be reduced using compensation schemas already tested on other programs (minor variations from the EQM model).
  • MLO vibration response to be improved by using appropriated reference, internal TCXO or external OCXO (minor variations from the EQM model).

Status date

Monday, February 22, 2021 - 15:53