1. The first objective is the Q Band EPC qualification and Q Band TWTA validation, this consists of:
- Design, Manufacturing and Tests of Q Band single TWTA EM composed of :
- Q Band EPC EQM in single configuration
- Q Band TWT EM
- Design, Manufacturing and qualification of HV module
- Design, Manufacturing and qualification (Life tests) of HV modules
2. In parallel, the objective is the adaptation of current test means (Pre Integration test bench & TVAC), with respect of the following milestones:
- To equip the Pre-integration test bench with Q Band interfaces and validate it
- To equip the ambient pressure performance test compatible with Q Band specificities and validate it
- To equip the Thermal Vacuum test bench compatible with Q Band specificities and validate it
- To prepare and perform training of operators to TWTA test in Q Band
3. The last objective is to prepare a preliminary design of EPC for very high power amplification in Ka Band
The first challenge is strategic as existing customers declared their intention to procure Q band TWTA in a near future. Therefore, the planning up to qualification is a critical success factor for meeting the right time to market.
The technical challenges are manifold: to qualify the mechanical change of HV5 instead of HV3, to qualify the increase of electrical field of HV modules, to perform the short-circuit tests, the low power consumption (needs additional tests at AF level), the RF performance at LCTWTA level and last but not least the test benches adaptation.
The new product offers an extension to low power (40 W) Q band half-dual (LC)TWTA. The EPC is also capable in the future to drive two Q-band TWT in dual (LC)TWTA configuration.
The new product offers mass and cost reduction for the LCTWTA half-dual configuration, whatever the frequency band.
The development is embedded in a commercial program for an existing customer, which benefits from the full support of the company.
The new product offers the following features over the current products:
- Extension to low power (40 W) Q band half-dual (LC)TWTA. The EPC is also capable in the future to drive two Q-band TWT in dual (LC)TWTA configuration. The Q-band TWT in paired configuration for dual EPC are not available at present time, taking into account the low heritage for these TWTs. But it is expected that this will become possible in the future once enough experience on these TWTs will be accumulated.
- Mass and cost reduction for the LCTWTA half-dual configuration, whatever the frequency band.
- Extension to high power (250 W) Ka-band half-dual LCTWTA: only anticipation activities, the TWT being not yet available. The formal qualification could be subject for a future contract.
The product is a Travelling Wave Tube amplifier (TWTA) that is integrated with a Linearization and Channelization unit, resulting in a complete Linearized and Channelized Travelling Wave Tube amplifier (LCTWTA). The role of the product is to provide power amplification at the output section of telecom payload for Very High Throughput Satellites.
TAS (LC)TWTA is composed of 3 elementary products manufactured within THALES group :
- 1 or 2 Travelling Wave Tube from TED = the RF power amplifier,
- 1 LDLA from TAS in F = the linearizer and channel amplifier,
- 1 EPC from TAS in B = the power supply for TWT(s) and LDLA.
In baseline, the goal is to re-use modules form Dual 3G EPC existing product and to upgrade them to the higher voltages needed by Q-band 40W TWTs. This will be performed only by qualification test extension when possible (without design modification), or with limited design modification.
The overall development logic was the following:
- design of the modified HV1 and HV5 modules
- development of the 40 W EPC
- manufacturing and test of HV5 STM for HV5 assembly and radiation shielding assembly mechanical and thermal validation
- manufacturing and functional test of "2 TWTA – 1 LDLA harness" in an electrical breadboard
- manufacturing of life test modules and 40 W EPC EQM
- life test of HV modules.
- 40 W Q-band EQM EPC qualification (in parallel with technological validation of HV modules)
- In parallel of all previous activities: adaptation of the RF test benches to Q-band TWTA.
- 40 W Q-band EM TWTA integration and validation
- Delta qualification completion of the Dual Q-band TWTA, on a PFM (in the frame of the commercial program).