Small satellite platforms are now extensively used for a wide variety of applications. The miniaturization of payloads enables operators to generate an ever-increasing amount of data. However, an important bottleneck remains with the communication system. To overcome this limitation, Antwerp Space NV is developing, in collaboration with the von Karman Institute, a Ka-band transceiver dedicated to small satellites.
With a very low mass, low volume, and low power consumption, it is easily accommodated on any spacecraft that requires inter-satellite communication. Its duty cycling capability allows to tailor the average data rate to the mission needs, thereby saving on power consumption.
The key specifications are as follows:
Overall performance: 1 Mbps over 4,300km
Presents itself as a set of 4 PCB boards:
Mass and volume smaller than 1U CubeSat
Solutions for localized shielding if required
Tunable power depending on data rate need:
30W @ 100% duty cycle (1 Mbps) 19W @ 60% duty cycle (540 kbps)
Life-time of 3 years
This effort is conducted in the frame of the ARTES Advanced Technology program of ESA.