In recent years there has been considerable work undertaken to develop airborne communications networks that overcome the limitations of terrestrial networks. Challenges exist in designing these systems, one of which is the development of communications transport links that deliver sufficient bandwidth and range to provide comprehensive connectivity.
The contract, valued in excess of £2 million, requires the customisation and delivery of the company’s solid state power amplifier (SSPA), Cerus. Originally developed for early-stage High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS) applications, the Cerus power module is based on Filtronic’s proprietary MMIC chip design and is provided in a small form factor module as a scalable SSPA. The Cerus module is available in 4, 8, 16 and 32-way configurations, offering power ranging from 4W to >10W at E-band frequencies.
The modules, and the related control boards will be installed in selected ground stations for commercial trials of the E-band earth station antenna links to and from the LEO satellite. This is the first time that high bandwidth E-band frequencies have been used in an operational LEO application.
“We are delighted to engage with a highly respected new customer at the leading edge of LEO space communications,” commented Richard Gibbs, CEO at Filtronic. “As the number of subscribers to LEO telecommunication services grow, maintaining network speed will become an increasingly important consideration for the service operator.
“E-band represents a viable licenced frequency band for the critical communication links to and from the orbiting satellite. Whilst terrestrial telecom companies have successfully used Filtronic E-band technology in their backhaul links for many years, this new contract award vindicates our decision to adapt Filtronic’s proprietary mmWave products for the emerging commercial LEO satellite market”.