European Space Agency

RF Product Family for Telecommunications Phase 2


The strategic objective behind the developments in the area of RF products is to provide a competitive solution for outdoor equipments in the interactive satellite terminals and VSAT domain and to increase the market share of Alcatel Space equipment for SATCOM applications.

In order to reach these goals, a comprehensive use is made of very recent integrated components developed for the wireless market and the strong expertise acquired over the years in the field of frequency sources and converters.

The products developed under this contract are located in two branches; a series of frequency up- and downconverters (C, Ku and Broadcast Ka band), a 5 Watt C band Block upconverter and a 20 Watt C band booster. Wherever possible a modular design approach was followed in order to enable reuse of certain key functions and components.

A second objective from onset of these developments was the recurring cost and should enable AAS-A to rival with the major competitors on the market.

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Throughout the whole development process, the key parameters for the different frequency converters and outdoor products were high modularity and component cost optimisation.

By properly optimising the various internal frequency plans, commonality could be actively pursued through reusing the local oscillator modules, IF modules, filters, etc.

The increased quantity of common building blocks also allows us to reduce the recurrent cost after industrialisation of each unit.


As from the beginning we have chosen to offer our Satcom frequency products with an extended bandwidth as a standard. This approach allows customers to cover satellite frequency bands where they would need two or three equipment models from the competition.

The obtained performances for each frequency converter can meet with or even exceed the narrowband "high value" types from the competition. The low power consumption of our products (-40% to -50% less then the competition) leads to lower component junction Tº, hence higher reliability, while allowing to stack more equipment into one 19? rack.

The pricing model which is applied by most competitors offers basic product features at comparable low price. More advanced features and functions are offered in options at high prices.
The pricing model proposed by AAS-A reverses this pricing model offering a complete high performing product, with complete advanced features in its baseline pricing, hence integrating fringe competitive benefits.


Main features for the Satcom frequency up- and down converters:

  • An extended bandwidth is offered as standard A 1 kHz step size available for each type (Ext. C, Ku and Ka);

  • Excellent phase noise providing margin w.r.t. IESS 310 specification;

  • Extended remote control interfaces as TCP/IP, RS232/RS485;

  • Low amplitude and group delay variation;

  • 1 U 19 inch rack size;

  • Price competitive with the market.

Main features for the 5W C band block upconverter:

  • High reliability due to enhanced cooling fin design : no fans required;

  • High performance is offered with a cost effective conversion scheme;

  • Low power consumption An extended bandwidth is standard.

Main features for the 20W C band booster:

  • 20 Watt "real" RF Output Power;

  • High reliability due to enhanced cooling fin design;

  • Low power consumption;

  • Lightweight;

  • Weatherized.


Milestone name


Kick OffDecember 2002
Specification Review (SPR)June 2003
Critical Design Review (CDR)September 2005
Final Review (FAR)June 2006

Current status

Definition phase of project was concluded successfully.

First full functional prototypes were ready in January 2006,

FAR for the frequency converters product line, 5W C BUC and 20W C band booster was completed in June 2006

In order to fit the current running commercial offers, a total of 10 C-band upconverters, 10 Extended C-band downconverters,10 Ku-band downconverters and 20 C band Block upconverters are in production.

Status date

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 - 17:16