Filtronic expands presence in satellite comms market
Designer and manufacturer of products and sub-systems for the aerospace, defence, telecoms infrastructure, space, and critical communications markets, Filtronic, has announced a new contract win with a leading global provider of low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications equipment.
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, for ground station LEO satellite applications. Originally developed for early 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 4-W to >10-W 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.
“As the number of subscribers to LEO telecommunication services grow, maintaining network speed will become an increasingly important consideration for the service operator,” commented Richard Gibbs, CEO at Filtronic.
“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 our proprietary mmWave products for the emerging commercial LEO satellite market”.
Filtronic has been a major mmWave technology provider to the non-terrestrial and near-space HAPS and LEO industries for several years.