The PLDRO2 project, officially named “Development and qualification of frequency generators”, was a follow-up project to the „Development of key technologies for frequency generation”. The goal of this activity was to further develop and qualify the devices for operation in space environment. The project was carried out for European Space Agency (ESA) within Polish Industry Incentive Scheme (PLIIS). SpaceForest’s partner in the project was RUAG Space AB from Sweden. The project has been successfully completed on 17 August 2018 during the final meeting, which took place in ESA headquarters (ESTEC) in the Netherlands.

The main assumption for the project was to prepare LO solutions for a wide frequency range of 1-3.5 GHz and 4.5–12 GHz. As a result, a possibility to cover frequencies between 1-12 GHz using different frequency generation approaches was successfully demonstrated.

The main outcome of the project was an Engineering Qualified Model of a 8.6 GHz ultra-low noise local oscillator integrated with a down-converter. The down-converter was designed and manufactured by RUAG Space AB. Both LO and the down-converter were integrated into a light and rigid mechanical chassis developed by SpaceForest engineers. The LO electronics, also developed by SF engineers, is able to keep its high parameters in a wide temperature range of  –40 °C to +80 °C and during 15 years of operation in harsh space environment (radiation, vacuum etc.). The unit has met all stringent mechanical and electrical requirements during qualification campaign, including e.g. vibration and shock tests, simulating launch of a launcher rocket and pyrotechnic separation of the satellite. Other tests conducted during the qualification campaign involved thermal vacuum and EMC/ESD test.

 

 

Both RUAG Space AB and ESA were very pleased with the results of this activity, especially due to the fact that already a set of Flight Models was ordered. The components will be flight-ready next year.