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.