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For Space Applications

Exponential growth in small satellites is driving the need for efficient power for data transmission.

Issues

  • SSPAs have traditionally had very low power-added-efficiency (PAE)
    • Market availability is typically <30%.
  • Low efficiency has been an impediment for more widespread satcom use
    • Century-old traveling wave tubes (TWT) is still preferred for large GEO satellites.
  • Current SSPA design is not suitable for large-volume production
    • >$200,000 for the simplest SSPA transponder.

Needs

  • Smaller satellites require much more efficient SSPAs due to size constraints.
  • Traditional SSPAs are prohibitively expensive for satellites below $1,000,000 in cost.
  • Volume production is a requirement given the size of new constellations (100-1000).

What is New Space©?

Paradigm

  • Proposed constellations will have 100-1000+ small satellites (~$1M per)
  • These satellites require high-efficiency RF transmission due to size, weight, and power (SWaP) constraints
  • Miniaturized satellite packaging
    • Consists of any number of 10cmx10cmx10cm units.
    • Each “U” has a mass of ~1kg
    • 1U, 3U, 6U are common sizes.

Deployment Examples

  • OneWeb Constellation with ~700 satellites
  • SpaceX StarLink Constellation with ~4,000 satellites

1-U CubeSat

New Space is a departure from traditional Communication Satellite business, in that the proposed New Space business cases require constellations of up to thousands of small satellites. This is attempting to break through the barrier of high cost of entry into this business, and the success in ‘New Space’ quantity and price target will depend on deviation from standard heritage and practice.

It is understood that standard communication satellite heritage and practices will not be applicable, since it would be a difficult to provide the solutions using the traditional design and manufacturing practices. It would also be very challenging for established Suppliers to provide components at the cost and volume that will be required. As such, a totally new approach for satellite/component design & manufacture is required, opening up an opportunity for AstroComm to provide the transponder solution.

Given that the state of electronics on traditional communication satellites is decades behind the current State-of-the-Art, AstroComm proposes to leverage its heritage in design, development, fabrication and production of advanced high performance commercial electronic components into Spacecraft design. Furthermore, traditional Space is very expensive, with the RF being a major part of it. AstroComm proposes to leverage its heritage in using low cost commercial test, assembly, reliability & production strategy to develop RF products more suitable to New Space.

Traditional spacecraft manufacturing is an extremely time consuming process, and this is not suitable for the assembly-line approach that is needed for very large constellations of satellites. AstroComm proposes to leverage its heritage in mass production of consumer electronics into enabling mass production of RF components. This will also allow fast cost-effective replication of all strategies. Application of AstroComm’s ‘Quick Start’ approach to design and prototyping will also be a strategy to reduce time and cost to production.

AstroComm is offering a more cost-effective RF products/solutions for spacecraft by adapting more modern technology into spacecraft RF design. It also brings in a diverse, high volume supplier base, experienced in commercial electronics and component production. The low-cost and efficient design is easily adaptable to commercial S, C, X, Ku, and Ka Band applications

Design for rapid manufacturing and high volume production will be required for New Space success. AstroComm offers a departure from the current conservative and costly paradigm, invoking disruption through price and technology.

Comparison of Data Transmission Capability
Communication Band Typical Transmitter AstroComm Transmitter
S-Band 2 Mbps 3 Mbps
X-Band 100 Mbps 150 Mbps
Ka-Band 200 Mbps 300 Mbps
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