Low-Cost Ka-Band Transmitter for CubeSat Systems

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  • Author: Matt McNicholas, James DeLuna, Robert Manno, and Yong-Hui Shu

CubeSat platforms grow increasingly popular in commercial ventures as alternative solutions for global Internet networks, deep space exploration, and aerospace research endeavors. Many technology companies and system engineers plan to implement small satellite systems as part of global Low Earth Orbit (LEO) inter-satellite constellations. High performing low-cost hardware is of key importance in driving these efforts.

This paper presents the heterodyne architecture and performance of a Ka-Band Integrated Transmitter Assembly (ITA) Module, which could be implemented in nano/microsatellite or other satellite systems as a low-cost solution for high data rate space communication systems. The module converts a 0.9 to 1.1 GHz IF input signal to deliver linear transmission of +29 dBm at 26.7 to 26.9 GHz frequency range with a built-in phase locked oscillator, integrated transmitter, polarizer, and lens corrected antenna.

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