European Space Agency

MMHT Phase 2


The project will develop a new type of equipment called Agile Integrated Downconverter Assembly (AIDA). This equipment will support the next generation of flexible payloads developed by EADS Astrium.

The Equipment will contain the frequency generation, input / output switching functions and the down-conversion function all within the same equipment.

The project will also develop a series of five new hybrid circuits that will enhance the building block portfolio of the RF & Electronics Products group in Portsmouth (UK).


The development of new types of downconverter modules targeted at high volume production requires a novel concept of packaging techniques using ceramic materials, and known as Hi-MMHT (Highly Integrated Modular Microwave Hybrid Technology). This development is realised in a joint effort between EADS Astrium Ltd and Kyocera Fineceramics Ltd.


The processing approach and technology developed within Phase 2 will be both forward looking and able to provide cost benefits from the integrated RF processing approach but also backwards compatible with conventional channelised solutions. Therefore the equipment functionality had to be apportioned to allow fully channelised equipments and equipments based on integrated RF processing. This essentially meant that the "functional" sections of the equipment discussed above had to be stand alone physical designs able to work in either serial channelised configurations with each other and/or in common service sections.

Other generic benefits of the equipment lies in its "agility" to select various LO frequencies, making it "re-configurable" once implemented in the flexible payload concept.


For the purposes of this development a 6 for 4 redundancy configuration will be developed.

It uses an integrated RF processing approach to equipment design. The approach essentially merges the common sections of a converter into a dual redundant service section reducing the amount of hardware required.

For 4 or more converters operating over the same frequency range it was quickly recognised that the Reference oscillator, DC/DC converter and Local oscillator sections are all common and could be combined to reduce the total amount of hardware required. However because of the mission criticality of these components it was also determined that any common elements should be dual redundant.


The project will develop and build an Elegant Breadboard (EBB) 6:4 Agile IDA equipment that will be put through environmental testing (Shock, Vibration, Thermal Vacuum, EMC). The follow-on project to MMHT (GFP Phase 1) will produce and test an Engineering Qualification Model (EQM) of the AIDA equipment incorporating 'lessons learned' from this EBB.

Current status

The design, build and test for the EBB AIDA equipment is now complete (see picture below). Testing was performed successfully in all environmental conditions (temperature, vibration, shock, EMC).

 click for larger image

The MMHT programme has been highly successful with the implementation of a new technology concept, with product ranging from low level building blocks (MMHT) to high level building blocks (Hi-MMHT).

This new portfolio of products has enabled the RF & Electronics Group in Astrium Portsmouth to successfully bid new equipments on the FSS/BSS payload market and has opened the door to further export sales worldwide.

It has also paved the way for Future Flexible Payload designs being developed by Astrium, of which the first flight application will be HYLAS. MMHT Phase 2 has been a key contributor to de-risk this first application by developing the first Hi-MMHT modules.

Status date

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 13:49