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  • Satellite Evolution

SES O3b mPOWER gateways to use Mission Microwave Ka-Band SSPAs

Mission Microwave Technologies, LLC, a manufacturer Gallium Nitride (GaN) based Solid State Power Amplifiers (SSPAs) has confirmed the initial production orders for high power SSPAs in support of SES O3b mPOWER gateways. The order follows nearly three years of work between the companies to implement this forward-looking technology into the O3b mPOWER system.

Ka MOAB 400W

SES and Mission Microwave shared their vision of replacing classic Traveling Wave Tube amplifiers (TWTA) with state-of-the-art SSPAs. Exchanging Tube based amplifiers for Solid State Amplifiers is best understood with the analogy of replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED lighting. The benefits include reliability, energy efficiency and lower total cost of ownership over the lifetime of a satellite project/ground station. Tube amplifiers also have a limited shelf life, complicating logistics for global deployments in remote locations.

O3b mPOWER is SES’s next generation medium earth orbit satellite constellation whose beams can be shifted and scaled in real-time to meet customer demands. When launched later this year, the O3b mPOWER system will deliver connectivity services ranging from tens of megabits to multiple gigabits per second.

Mission Microwave President and CEO Francis Auricchio explained: “SES did a fantastic job in leading the industry to this technology innovation. As the O3b mPOWER network architecture was being designed SES wanted to explore the potential of using SSPAs rather than classic TWTAs in the network gateways. SES’s earlier efforts to source SSPAs at this power level were not successful.

SES’s engineering teams understood the technology risks and benefits and worked closely with Mission Microwave’s product development team to define a form, fit and function replacement for 500 watt TWT Amplifiers that took advantage of the benefits of Solid State Amplifiers while allowing early network deployments to rely on traditional TWT amplifier designs. This was a substantial engineering challenge in terms of RF and thermodynamic design. The result is a new benchmark in high power amplifier design that is an enabler for SES network designers for O3b mPOWER and future network enhancements.”

Stewart Sanders, Executive Vice President of Technology and O3b mPOWER programme lead at SES added, “We need to bring together all the latest and most innovative technology so that we can optimise capabilities of the O3b mPOWER system and deliver the unprecedented scalability and flexibility connectivity services that our customers demand. Mission Microwave SSPAs are a key element to making the network reliable, scalable and supporting our customers’ global reach. Our technology team is justifiably proud of the joint accomplishment in bringing this new technology to support our global gateway infrastructure.”


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