KARFE -Integrated Receiver Front-End for Multi-Beam Ka-Band Missions

Objectives

The objective of the project aims to design, manufacture and test a compact and light-weight Ka-Band Receiver Front-End (RFE) EM for multi-beam applications including a redundancy switch, two LNA chains and RF-filtering. The work intends to integrate the input filter, the redundancy switch and the LNA. This is carried out using miniaturisation and low density technologies. The RFE is intended for use in future Ka-Band multi-beam payloads using single feed per beam antenna concept. The RFE is assumed to be accommodated on the payload panel, however as the overall noise figure benefit from a RFE located close to the feed antenna, close-tothe-feed accommodation is also taken into account in the evaluation and design. RUAG Space' primary objective in this study is to utilize the possibilities with miniaturisation technologies (MMIC, hybrids etc) and further optimization of mass and size by taking into account the possibility of inter-stage matching between the different functions to minimize loss (i.e. improved noise figure). RUAG Space’ ambition is that the work shall result in a light-weight Receiver Front-End that shall meet both future electrical and mechanical requirements. At the same time, the equipment shall allow for high-volume production (i.e. more than hundreds of these equipment shall be manufactured and tested within a regular schedule of 12-16 months).

Challenges

The key issues addressed in the project are to reduce mass and size, mainly footprint (front to antenna waveguide interface). At the same time, the equipment must also allow for high-volume production.

Benefits

Future high capacity Ka Band satellites will require hundreds of receiver front-ends (Low Noise Amplifiers), as well as hundreds of transmitters (CAMPs, TWTAs). In order to be able to accommodate such a large number of equipment, a light-weight Receiver Front-End made according to the described concept aims to meet both future electrical and mechanical requirements. At the same time, the equipment allows for high-volume production (i.e. more than hundreds of these equipment shall be manufactured and tested within a regular schedule of 12-16 months).

Features

The developed redundant miniaturized Ka-band Receiver Front End shows following key features:

  • Excellent performance
  • Switching between nominal and redundant chain by command
  • Low mass
  • Small size
  • Low cost

System Architecture

The RFE design consists of:

  • Input band pass filter
  • Redundancy Switch MMIC
  • Two redundant RF chains:
  • LNA MMIC
  • Gain Block MMIC 
  • Isolator 
  • Power Combiner 
  • Hybrid package Below is the block diagram and a photo of the RFE EM:

Figure: Block diagram and photo of the RFE EM The overall RFE frequency range specification is 27.5-30.0 GHz. The two redundant LNAs are operating as one hot and one cold chain.

Plan

  • PDR Oct 2014
  • BB TRB Nov 2015
  • CDR May 2017
  • EM TRB Nov 2017
  • Final Review Nov 2017

Current status

The project is completed, only outstanding activity is the combined TRB and Final Review, planned to Nov 2017.

Contacts

ESA Contacts

Status date

Monday, January 8, 2018 - 11:04