C-Band LC-SSPA - Development of a new generation GaN C-Band LC-SSPA

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Telecom payloads and satellites are strategic for Thales Alenia Space. The choice of internal development of SSPA has been done to control and accurately monitor critical items, such as performances (output power, power consumption & dissipation, linearity, mass), technologies and costs.

Thales Alenia Space wanted to speed up the introduction of the European GaN technology according to a vertical housing approach for own new generation of SSPA.

Thanks to this new C-band LC-SSPA EQM, Thales Alenia Space has increased its market share for Telecom applications.


For C-band applications, the main challenge resides to propose a really competitive LC-SSPA compared to TWTA solution regarding to the mass, footprint, output power and power added efficiency.

So, the challenges have been focused on management of the high power RF section and power dissipation capability in a stringent volume.


Thanks to this new C-band LC-SSPA, Thales Alenia Space increases its market share for Telecom applications.

The following table shows the main benefits of this product compared to LC- TWTA solution:

Parameters LC-SSPA LC-TWTA
Frequency band 3.7-4.2GHz 3.7-4.2GHz
Typical Power class 90W 90W
Power class capability up to 126W up to 150W
Average PAE@sat 38%(*) 50/55%
T° acceptance 75°C +60/80°C
Manufacturing cycle 12/13 months 15/16 months
Footprint 2.7dm² 4.6dm²
Mass 2kg 2.7kg

(*) PAE will be improved thanks to on-going development.


The proposed equipment is consisting in a stand-alone unit composed of :

  • a new RF chain including a low level section based on GaAs technology and a high power section based on GaN technology,
  • a new EPC section using new techniques, new technologies and new parts with improved thermal capability in order to respond to the vertical constraints and efficiency,
  • a new digital TMTC board,
  • a new reduced footprint thanks to a vertical housing

EQM C-band GaN SSPA equipment mechanical features

Parameters Typicals values
Useful frequency range 3700 - 4200 MHz
Frequency Bandwidth 400MHz
Typical Reference Input Power (RIP) -55/-20 dBm
Typical Reference Output Power (ROP) 100W
Averaged PAE 38%
NPR >15dB@-3dBOBO
Mass <2kg
Dimensions (LxWxH) 281mm x 117mm x 142mm
Reliability @+40°C 700 FITS
Qualification temperature range -10°C / 80°C
Modes FGM/ALC/Mute
Telemetries PRF, Ibus, setting

EQM C-band GaN SSPA performances



The project plan is focused on the development, manufacturing, tests and qualification of the unit:

  • Design, manufacturing and test of the GaAs and GaN RF sections
  • Design, manufacturing and test of the EPC board
  • Design, manufacturing and test of the TMTC board
  • Design and manufacturing of the mechanical structure
  • PDR / CDR reviews to validate the design
  • Qualification of sub-assemblies
  • Assembly and tests of the C-Band EM & EQM 100W GaN SSPA
  • Final review to validate the development and the electrical performances
Current status

All key reviews have been held successfully.

The C-band 100W GaN EQM SSPA has been fully tested and qualified. The product is entering in the commercial phase.

The contract is now closed.