European Space Agency

CASCA – Compact Airborne Satellite Communication Amplifier


This project is to develop the first in a family of compact satellite communication amplifiers capable of operation in an un-pressurised aircraft.
The initial amplifier will comprise an existing e2v Ku band travelling wave tube, integrated with a power supply and associated electronics.  The development of the power supply and associated electronics will be the key focus of this programme.  
Development of the travelling wave tube is not proposed.
Initial applications include natural resource monitoring, crop monitoring, disaster relief, peacekeeping, and border control.  


The key issue to be tackled in this project is the development of a compact travelling wave tube power supply (typically 5kV) capable of reliable operation at 70,000 ft in an un-pressurised aircraft.

Key design issues to be overcome include:

Thermal management

Packaging density

Component layout - to enable high voltage operation at altitude.

Resin or silicon encapsulation of components.


The introduction of an ITAR free Satcom unit into the airborne satcom market.


The resulting TWTA system will initially feature an e2v Ku band travelling wave tube, but will be capable of operation with other TWTs.    

Potential applications include: 

  • Disaster relief.
  • Homeland security/security monitoring/crime prevention and detection.
  • Natural resource monitoring/crop monitoring.
  • Urban traffic control.
  • Peace keeping.

CASCA photograph


A detailed GANTT chart is published on daptiv.  

The overall project is expected to take 20 months.  

Key review meetings are timetabled at key points throughout the project. 

Project kick off..…………..February 2010

PDR………………………..September 2010

MTR………………………..Kick off + 10 months

Final Review………………Kick off + 20 months 

In addition, monthly progress reports will be issued and published on the e-project web site.

Current status

The project was kicked off at e2v Chelmsford in February 2010. 

The project Mid Term Review was held at e2v on 18th April 2011 with an unconditional pass.

Following an e2v initiated break in the project execution, restart of engineering activity commenced in January 2014.

A total of 2 engineering and seven pre-production units have been produced and tested. Qualification was by read across from a parallel airborne microwave power module development activity at e2v.

Project completion was concluded in July 2014.

Status date

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 11:01