Analog Devices teams for LEO satellite beam steering

April 20, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Analog Devices teams for LEO satellite beam steering
Analog Devices and MDA are developing electronic beam steering for the Telesat Lightspeed low earth orbit satellite constellation

Analog Devices has teamed up with MDA in Canada on a beam forming integrated circuit (BFIC) to be used in a phased array antenna for the Telesat Lightspeed low earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation.

The Lightspeed constellation of 298 satellites is planned to launch in the second half of 2023 to provide global broadband connectivity for commercial, government and defence markets.   It will be competing with LEO constellations including the StarLink system from SpaceX, where STMicroelectronics is a key chip supplier, UK-owned OneWeb and the Kuiper project from Amazon.

LEO satellites have to dynamically steer communication beams to maintain uninterrupted and high-speed connectivity to ground terminals. The BFIC chip has to be highly reliable while performing under extreme temperatures and cosmic radiation for the full 10- to 12-year lifespan of each satellite.  

“Electronically steered array technology is a necessity for the builders and operators of the next generation of LEO constellations. This technology provides MDA and Telesat with the ability to simultaneously steer multiple beams and allows beams to be rapidly repositioned at speeds that are not possible with mechanical systems.” said Bryan Goldstein, Vice President of Aerospace and Defence at Analog Devices. “We are excited to collaborate with MDA to support the Telesat Lightspeed constellation.”

“The collaboration with ADI has enabled MDA to develop the critical solutions required to perform electronic beam steering on the Telesat Lightspeed antennas,” said Amer Khouri, Vice President of Satellite Systems, MDA. “We look forward to continuing this journey together and producing the large quantity of antennas required for this groundbreaking program.”

www.analog.com; www.MDA.space

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