ESA’s Pacis 3 project moves forward with new GaN Solid State Power Amplifier

The Preliminary Design Review for the Dual Solid State Power Amplifier (DSSPA) developed by SENER (Spain) in the frame of ESA’s Pacis 3 Partnership Project has been completed successfully. The very first test results obtained on the 10W X-band DSSPA prototype have been presented and exhibit impressive performances.

SENER’s DSSPA module prototype for Pacis 3

Pacis 3 is a Partnership Project (PP) between the satellite operator Hisdesat and the European Space Agency (ESA), with the support from Spain’s Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI). ESA Telecoms Partnership Projects develop new sustainable end-to-end systems, up to in-orbit validation. The Pacis 3 project objectives are the development and integration of innovative antennas up to in-orbit validation, such as the reconfigurable transmit and receive X-band active antennas, and the deployable pallet with individually steerable Ka-band antennas. These antennas are developed under the leadership of Airbus Defence and Space, Spain, as industrial prime.

Sener’s DSSPA is built around a High Power Amplifier integrated circuit designed and produced by UMS using their GH25 0,25 µm Gallium Nitride (GaN) process. This technology is able to deliver high RF power level and provides high reliability and good performance at high temperature. It is then particularly appropriate for many high demanding application like RF power generation on-board communications satellites.

Considering the hundreds of active elements to be integrated in the reconfigurable transmit antenna developed by Airbus Spain, Sener's lightweight and high performance DSSPA is a key enabler for the Pacis 3 Project. To meet the challenging industrialisation and production objectives, Sener will move its workforce to another facility with new and larger clean rooms.

Pacis 3 is part of Hisdesat’s much larger overall SpainSat NG programme that comprises two new generation satellites based on Airbus’ new Eurostar Neo product line. Both satellites are to be launched by end of 2023/2024, to be used for secure communications. The Pacis 3 project will also demonstrate in-orbit pooling and sharing concepts in support of ESA’s Govsatcom Precursor activities.

Published 02 December 2020
Last updated at 02 December 2020 - 17:32