European Space Agency

Digital IF - Digital IF for the satellite ground segment


To develop technology to enable the conversion of existing satellite communications IF ground architecture from analogue to digital, through the introduction of digital IF transport streams


  • Trade-offs between signal performance and cost of transport
  • Limitations of current convertor technology
  • Limitations of FPGA processing speed within the framework of the above
  • Ensuring additional signal processing does not increase system latency beyond acceptable limits


  • Digital IF allows the physical decoupling of the antenna sites from data processing sites
  • Enhanced RF signal quality
  • Provision of a more robust digital encryption environment
  • Reduced operating and capex costs for the user
  • Operational flexibility
  • Diversity site connectivity


  • Digitisation of L band IF signals (850MHz to 2150/2450MHz)
  • Utilisation of standard GbE links between world-wide sites (existing IP infra-structure)
  • Scalable architecture
  • Smaller physical footprint
  • Lower environmental footprint

System Architecture


The project is split across three phases, namely: 

  • Definition Phase

Requirements definition

SOW and preliminary design 

  • Technology Phase

Critical design

Prototyping and evaluation 

  • Product Phase

DVT & qualification

SAT and Productionisation

Current status

The project started on 2nd September 2019 and is on track for CDR1 in mid-April 2021

Status date

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 20:21