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Filtronic Lands Contract for LEO Satellite Power Amplifiers

Feb. 9, 2023
LEO satellites are increasingly integrated into wireless communications networks to provide extended-range service at E-band millimeter-wave frequencies.

Growing numbers of low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites are being recruited for defense and commercial applications, creating a strong need for building-block satellite-communications (SATCOM) components. In answering the call for LEO satellite power amplifiers, RF/microwave component and subsystem supplier Filtronic has received a contract valued at more than £2 million from a major supplier of LEO satellies.

The contract covers customization and delivery of its Cerus solid-state power amplifier (SSPA). With more than 20-dB gain at millimeter-wave frequencies, the Cerus amplifier modules are well-suited for boosting E-band communications signals in frequency bands from 71 to 76 GHz and 81 to 86 GHz.

Cerus amplifiers, originally developed for high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) applications, are based on a proprietary MMIC design that's integrated into a multifunction module along with supporting circuitry, such as bias and operational control. The module can be supplied in 4-, 8-, 16-, and 32-way configurations with output power ranging from 4 to 10 W though 86 GHz.

As part of the contract, modules will be installed on selected ground stations to evaluate performance during commercial trials with E-band LEO satellites.

Filtronic CEO, Richard Gibbs, said, “We are delighted to engage with a highly respected new customer at the leading edge of LEO space communications.” He added, “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 licensed frequency band for the critical communication links to and from the orbiting satellite.”

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