Enabling & Support

Multi-Beam Satellite Communications Payload with Flexible Power Allocation

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Space Engineering & Technology
481 - Abstract:
The European Space Agency offers a communications payload configuration comprising a multi-port amplifier with remotely controllable travelling wave tube amplifiers (TWTAs). By adjusting TWTA anode voltage, efficient flexible power allocation without redundancy and switches is possible, leading to improved output loss, mass, accommodations, reliability and cost. The technology owner is looking for partners for license agreement and for industrialising the technology.

Description of the offer:

Taking into account the prior techniques and knowledge, the offered technology provides a multi-beam satellite communications system capable of allocating flexible power to the HPAs operating at high frequency while avoiding the drawbacks of the prior art, and delivers a payload configuration capable of efficient allocation of power to the HPAs without the need of redundant units.

The communications payload configuration of the presented technology comprises a multi-port amplifier that incorporates remotely controllable TWTAs for allowing their output power to be adjusted depending on the traffic demand and the payload operational conditions. Each TWTA power is controlled by adjusting its anode voltage in response to a command signal received from the ground station. In case of TWTA failure, the power delivered by each remaining TWTA is increased by gross anode voltage control. This power control is done in a constant efficiency way by also re-adjusting the TWTA collector voltages. After failure, re-adjustment of the insertion phase and gain of TWTAs is made by fine helix and anode voltage control. This voltage control can also correct and compensate for ageing effects, as well as for small amplitude and phase tracking errors between TWTAs. The procedure allows the TWTA to operate as a controllable phase and amplitude control element and therefore eliminating the need for additional phase shifters and variable attenuators.

Innovations and advantages of the offer:

The implementation of the offered technology allows for an efficient flexible power allocation achieved without the need of redundant TWTAs and switches, leading to an improvement in output loss, mass, accommodations, reliability and cost. The number of TWTAs is equal to the number of inputs and the number of antenna feed elements. Optimum voltages are set for ensuring the best RF isolation between ports using the same frequencies and beam isolation performance is improved by fine anode and helix voltage control, also compensating for small amplitude and phase tracking errors between TWTAs.

Domain of Application:

The offered technology is particularly well suited for satellite communications payload configurations comprising a multi-port amplifier that need to maximise the overall satellite throughput capabilities depending on traffic demands and payload operational conditions. The incorporated TWTAs allow for an efficient flexible power allocation. The improvement in output loss, mass, accommodations, reliability and cost is advantage to all space and earth applications incorporating multi-port amplifiers.

  • Commercial communications
  • data communications

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