Arralis Develops Plug and Play Ka band Chipset for ESA

An Irish company Arralis, and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed a contract for their new Ka band chipset, which will enable massive data rate communications speeds for commercial and science missions. The first phase Ka band Transceiver chipset contract is worth €650,000, which is awarded under ESA’s ARTES Competitiveness & Growth programme.

This first of its kind Ka band chipset comprises all of the circuits required to build a K-band satellite and ground front end that will easily connect with high power amplifiers and antennas. The Ka band (26 to 40 GHz) frequency range is being considered to be the next big thing for satellite technology, as it allows for smaller antennas and ground terminals, as well as dramatically lowered costs.

Ka Band antennas can be 400% smaller than their Ku band rivals which opens up the consumer and connected vehicle markets to high data rate and low latency satellite communications. Companies such as Facebook, Inmarsat and SpaceX have recently announced their plans to use the Ka band to provide broadband services around the globe with the initial SpaceX deployment consisting of an unprecedented 4,425 satellites with Ka band payloads.

The Leonis chipset from Arralis has been developed to meet the needs of the growing demand for low cost Ka band satellite equipment that is simple to interface with current digital internet hardware. Applications include 5G communications, airborne high speed Wi-Fi, low earth orbit mega constellation communications, drone constellations and SAT-Drone-Ground data networks, satellite to automotive connectivity, connected vehicles, last mile and remote internet solutions, and IoT and M2M communications.

The full transmit and receive band coverage (17-21 GHz and 27-31 GHz) allows for both ground to space and space to ground applications and employs image cancelling IQ mixers that can be directly interfaced with modulators and demodulators. Both bands have a 21 dBm output power amplifier, an ultra-low noise amplifier, up and down converter mixers and a high output VCO to serve as the local oscillator.

The Leonis Chipset is available as a core chip, packaged in a QFN format that will allow a complete RF transceiver to be built with just three chips. An evaluation board is also available to enable developers to quickly experiment and prove designs before committing to production. The devices are all fabricated on a low noise, space-qualified gallium arsenide process to ensure a wide temperature range and long term reliability. The chipset is designed as a one-stop communication solution; from satellite hardware to airborne through to ground.

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