European Space Agency

Down and Up Converter Module


Mier Comunicaciones has been awarded by Thales Alenia Space España (TASE) with a contract to design and develop the Down and Up Converters (DUCs) for the AMAZONAS 2 payload, AMERHIS 2 On Board Processor.

Mier Comunicaciones total contribution to AMERHIS 2 consists on 6 DoCons, 6 UpCons, 6 LO and 2 EPC (Nominal and Redundant). All these equipments will be assembled together, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Assembly of 6 RF channels (DoCon, UpCon and LO) and EPC

click for larger image

In the frame of this ARTES 4 programme, Mier Comunicaciones has developed and EQM model with two RF channels, two dummy channels mechanically and thermally representative and two dummy channels only mechanically representative.


Phase 1 is the phase between the Kick Off Meeting (KOM) up to Preliminary Design Review (PDR). The objective of this phase is to establish the design, and perform all necessary analyses required for the PDR.

The phase 1 is further divided into: definition, detailed design, prototyping. Due to the compressed time schedule, these actions are largely performed in parallel, so that an activity is started well before the preceding activity has completed.

Phase 2 is the phase between PDR up to CDR. The tasks are aimed at establishing the design, manufacturing and testing of the EQM model, and perform all the necessary analyses required for the CDR.

The results from the PDR (including prototyping) were used as input for the EQM design. A CDR data package was be established and a CDR review was held.


Having detected a potential market in the frame of the Multimedia On Board Processors, Mier Comunicaciones expects to enlarge its heritage in RF equipment, particularly in Down and Up Convertion from and to Ku band.


The main purpose of the down converter is to perform the frequency conversion of the incoming Ku-band signals to a fixed L-band frequency (IF) that is needed by the on-board processor. The up converter performs the conversion of this IF signal provided by the L-band processor (1008 MHz) to the output Ku-band frequency.

Both the down and up converters are designed using packaged discrete components on a very stable microwave substrate (Duroid 6002). All the needed passive networks (filters, bias and matching networks, etc.) are designed using microstrip technology. The block diagram for one channel can be found in Figure 2.

Figure 2 . Down and Up Converter block diagram

click for larger image


Mier Comunicaciones has foreseen the following philosophy to secure the design and development of the DUC EQM:

  • Implement a full dependability programme including all reliability aspects, radiation design constraints, safety/hazard- and maintainability factors as relevant for board level.
  • Perform an overall functional design based on the requirements in the technical specification.
  • Perform detailed electrical design using simulation techniques to verify proper function and investigate critical design margins early in the programme.
  • Breadboard (BB) those blocks which are critical in terms of performances.
  • Establish a qualification model fully representative, except for component quality, of the flight hardware to be produced. Qualification tests will be performed by Mier Comunicaciones (in internal or external facilities).

Current status

EBB manufactured.
EQM manufactured and succesfully tested.

Status date

Monday, November 19, 2012 - 18:57