Critical Design Review in SSPA project for ESA

In the ongoing European Space Agency’s (ESA) project “Development of a highly integrated low-cost X-band SSPA EQM”, we have achieved an important milestone – the Critical Design Review (CDR). It means that the engineering model of the device is ready to enter the final phase of the project, in which it will be subjected to qualification tests. Our partner in this project, providing engineering support, assembly, and qualification tests, is Tesat-Spacecom from Backnang, Germany.

The main objective of the project is to design a highly integrated Solid State Power Amplifier operating in the typical frequency range used for downlink transmitters in earth observation missions. The X-Band SSPA is to be designed for 7 years of operation in the space environment of LEO orbit, filling the market niche with “new space” solutions for modern LEO EO (Earth Observation) satellite constellations.

The developed GaN-based SSPA technology covers the typical X-band satellite and military communications band with power levels of 15 Watts and a high total Power Added Efficiency (PAE). The combination of high output power level, high efficiency, use of proven lower grade components, and small dimensions allows the amplifier to be used on modern and compact satellite platforms while maintaining a high level of reliability and low cost.