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11 July 2016

Airbus Defence and Space awarded third contract in 18 months for GaN-based satellite amplifiers

Airbus Defence and Space, which is reckoned to be the world's second largest space company (and a division of Airbus Group, Europe's top defence and space enterprise), has won its third contract in 18 months for its latest gallium nitride (GaN)-based solid-state power amplifiers (SSPAs), bringing the total ordered to more than 350. 

In satellites, SSPAs are used to amplify the signals from the ground ready to be broadcast down to Earth. Satellites must take a signal, clean it, and amplify it more than a billion times before re-broadcasting it so it can be picked up by small satellite dishes on Earth.

Investment leading to the development of the latest GaN SSPA by Airbus Defence and Space was carried out as part of the European Space Agency's Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems program, which is supported by the UK Space Agency.

Designed for use in both communications and navigation satellites, the GaN-based SSPAs are claimed to have superior performance and 50% less mass per Watt of RF output compared with previous generations of SSPA technology. In particular, the flight L-band SSPAs deliver RF power of 50–100W and are 15% more efficient than previous models. In laboratory demonstrations, the latest GaN SSPAs have produced RF power in excess of 200W in L-, S- and C-bands.

"These significant orders prove that the R&D investments we have made over the last few years are paying off," says Charlie Bloomfield, Airbus Defence and Space's head of Communication Products UK. "Our experts are now looking at how we can further improve our design to give customers more power for less mass."

Tags: GaN HEMT

Visit: www.airbusdefenceandspace.com

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