European Space Agency

KALOS - DEVAQ - Ka-band and Above LNAs for On-board Space applications - DEmonstrator of V And Q band repeaters

Objectives

The project is a combination of two activities:

  • KALOS, addressing the development of a new family of LNAs across Ka to V bands, and
  • DEVAQ, to develop innovative elements of a V/K forward and a Ka/Q return repeater, validated in a repeater subsystem demonstrator.

In the frame of KALOS, two EM versions have been manufactured and tested for each LNA type, the first one using MMICs from currently flight proven processes, while the second one to test new MMICs designed and manufactured ad hoc with InP MHEMT process under evaluation for future space qualification. A breadboard version of a Centralized Power Supply Unit (CPSU), capable to supply a high number (100+) of LNAs has been also developed.

Ka Band LNA Ka Band dual LNA
Q Band LNA Return repeater demonstrator

For the SSPA, two breadboard versions have been developed: the first one using high power MMICs designed and manufactured ad hoc, the second one using COTS devices recently developed by OMMIC.

Forward repeater demonstrator Return repeater demonstrator

For the SSPA, two breadboard versions have been developed: the first one using high power MMICs designed and manufactured ad hoc, the second one using COTS devices recently developed by OMMIC.

20W SSPA EBB

Challenges

The main challenges consist of the design and manufacturing of new Q and V band equipment with unprecedented performance goals for noise figure and efficiency, and Ka band LNAs with production cost targets well below current benchmarks. Technologies currently at an early stage of space evaluation (InP for LNAs and GaN for SSPA) have been used for the design and manufacturing of new MMICs in order to assess their potential benefits both in terms of performance and reliability. 

Benefits

The developments included in the project allow to consolidate TAS-I position in the market of telecommunication low noise products, and to offer a SSPA solution as a lower cost alternative to TWT in architectures requiring up to 20W output.

Moreover, the DEVAQ demonstrator allows to validate RF design of future High Throughput Satellites and interface specifications of its equipment, verifying the conformance of the repeater chain to the predictions and requirements. The integration and test at repeater level provides a valuable experience in dealing with and resolving impairments in view of the very wide operating bandwidths and the high operating frequencies.

Features

All products foresee a high level of integration and rely on custom MMICs. In view of complex payloads with large quantities, LNAs and converters are conceived as compatible with multi-slice assemblies with remote and centralised power conditioning and frequency generation. The SSPA efficiently combines small HPA modules with waveguide interface, with a potential for use in other arrangements.

System Architecture

The DEVAQ demonstrator is composed of:

  • a 50/20 GHz Forward Repeater input section, that includes a BB V band Input filter, an EM V band LNA (developed on KALOS), a BB V band Demux and an EM 50/20 GHz converter
  • a 30/40 GHz Return Repeater Demonstrator, that includes an EM Ka band LNA (developed on KALOS), BB Ka band filters, an EM 30/40 GHz converter, a  BB Q band Cmux and output filter and an EBB Q band Linearized SSPA

Plan

The project was kicked off in July 2016. The project included the definition of a reference HTS architecture and the derivation of unit specifications. Foundry Release Reviews have been held at the end of the design phase for each MMIC process family. Each developed unit had its own design and MAIT phases, with PDR and TRB as key milestones. The latest developments have been completed at the end of 2019. The integration of most of developed units into the DEVAQ repeaters and the tests at demonstrator level have completed the activities.

Current status

The project activities have been completed.

Status date

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 15:07