European Space Agency

MAM - Mixers and Multipliers


The Mixer and Multipliers Programme objective was to complement and to further strengthen RSE’s converter and receiver products by performing following key development activities in the on-board processing converter product area:

  • The design and development of a Ka to L Downconverter, realized as a Breadboard.
  • The design and development of converter multipliers MMICs.

The market has been surveyed for commercial off the shelf MMIC image reject mixers (IRM). A selection of mixers have been procured and evaluated (tested). Mixer alternatives for the relevant frequency bands have been selected.


  • The requested bandwidths and spurious performance of the MMIC multipliers represented a design challenge
  • The performance of the LTCC material proposed to be used (DuPont 9K7) is promising from electrical point of view. However, it was new to RUAG in terms of processing properties.


The program has kept RUAG Space competitive both in Europe and US in the on-board processing converter product area.


The development was concentrated to a large extent on MMIC design.
Key parameters:
  • Excellent performance
  • Low mass
  • Small size
  • Low cost

System Architecture

A modular concept is used, where the different modules are possible to use to form either a standalone converter incl. power supply and LO generation or a converter supplied from a centralized power supply and LO. The modular approach also enables the units to be implemented as single-packs or multi-packs depending on the customer requirements. The standalone converter consists of the following modules:

  • RF/IF Module (incl. Generic LO multiplier chain)
  • LO Generation Module (XOSRD board, freq: 1.0-3.5 GHz)
  • Power Supply Module (DC/DC converter)

The components focused on in this program were the mixers, the LO chain multipliers and the LTCC material used for the RF/IF chain. The gain block VGA´s and PA´s are reused from the current family of converters at RUAG.


The mixer architecture is of the image reject type to reduce requirements on image filtering, especially for higher RF frequencies. For lower RF frequencies (C-band), double or triple balanced mixers have been evaluated.


The multiplier architecture is based on a passive (diodes) multiplier core with wideband pre and post amplifiers. The bandwidths are typically an octave.


A suitable LTCC material has been evaluated for use up to 30 GHz. The LTCC based Ka to L Downconverter BB includes all active RF functions.


PDR RF chain - Aug 2015

MMIC Design Review - Apr 2016

TRR -  Jan 2017

TRB - Apr 2017

Final Review - Apr 2017

Current status

The project is completed, only outstanding activities are the combined RF Chain BB TRB and Final Review, planned to April 2017.

Status date

Thursday, May 4, 2017 - 10:46