European Space Agency

Development of C/Ku Beacons


The primary goal of the programme is to design and develop two beacon EQMs, one operating at C band and another at Ku-band.

Full qualification testing of the C and Ku band beacon products is also planned, enabling the products to be offered on the commercial market. 


The proposed design is based on a discrete HPA (High Power Amplifier) design, with many interface tiles mounted in an Aluminium chassis. The multiple interfaces at higher frequencies present the risk of glitching over temperature. Particular attention must be paid to the design of those interfaces.
High power levels within the HPA also present some risk of box modes, which must be taken into consideration through a design of small cavities.

To help with production alignment times and reduce the load pull effect, the design is based on a balanced amplifier configuration for the HPA stage.


The main benefits of the project are summarised below:
  • The design, development and qualification of two new beacon products allow Astrium to enter the commercial market for these C and Ku band products for the first time.
  • Further commercial exploitation of the technology developed for the active equipments product line.
  • A solid base for extending the product line to other frequency bands (e.g. X, S).


The beacon product is based on technology developed by Astrium in the Generic Flexible Payload (GFP) programme, with common building blocks being re-used on the beacon product.

A functional block diagram of the Beacon is shown below


The programme duration is 16 months, starting in July 2010.
The design phase is 5 months, with a CDR in November 2010.
EQM assembly and test is planned to commence in March 2011.
Unit qualification is planned to complete by November 2011.

Current status

The programme was completed in November 2011, with the successful completion of the qualification of the C and Ku band beacon products.
Since then Astrium has been successful on the commercial market with the award of multiple flight programmes.

Status date

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 10:50