European Space Agency

Highly Integrated Converter


This project aims at the provision of a Highly Integrated Converter at Ku-band with significantly reduced size, mass, cost and production time compared to today's converters, still meeting the high performance requirements.

The present generation of frequency converters and receivers does not meet the requirements for new satellites, neither has it been optimised for testability and producability. To meet the future demands on equipment with state of the art performance as well as small size and low mass a new generation of converters and receivers is needed.

The activities cover the definition, design, manufacturing and testing of a Highly Integrated Converter. The design will be based on the development of a Highly Integrated Local Oscillator running under an ARTES 5 contract.

The development will be concentrated to a large extent on hybrid design using multi-layer technologies (LTCC) and MMIC design. The major customers for the Highly Integrated Converter will be already existing business partners in US and Europe offering them a new advanced product.


The key issue is to meet the stringent requirements on low mass and cost and still keep the excellent RF performance of today's Converter generation.


The program will keep Saab Ericsson Space competetive both in Europe and US in the product area Converters and Receivers.


Excellent performance:

  • High Frequency and Gain Stability

  • Low Phase Noise

  • Excellent Spectrum Purity

  • Low mass

  • Small size


  • A generic design with flexibility for adaptation to different requirements

  • Internal Local Oscillator

  • Internal LNA (optional)

  • Compatible with different DC-supplies and TM/TC interfaces



Preliminary Design ReviewSept 2002
Design Review:Nov 2004
Final Review:May 2005

Final Presentation: Jan-2005

Current status

The Project has been successfully completed in May 2005. A Highly Integrated Converter has been developed and tested. The Objective of the development was to design and build a small lightweight and cost effective microwave converter. The use of LTCC hybrids has greatly reduced component costs as well as the assembly and tuning time. The custom designed (by Saab Ericsson Space) MMIC mixer has shown very good results in terms of spurious performance over a wide frequency band (10.7 GHz to 14.5 GHz). The use of a novel zero bias diode for the mixer shows very promising results also from reliability point of view.

To obtain a complete unit, mechanically and thermally representative, the converter was combined with the power supply and local oscillator unit developed under ESTEC Contract 15744/01/NL/DS, Highly Integrated Local Oscillator.

Figure 1-1 Highly Integrated Converter

click for larger image

The complete unit has been manufactured, assembled and tested. The unit performance meets the expected performances for almost all performance parameters. The experience based on the manufacturing activities show that a great reduction in component and production costs can be expected.

Status date

Thursday, December 3, 2009 - 10:09