- Parabolic Arc
- November 29, 2023
Tethers Unlimited Delivers SWIFT K-Band CubeSat Transmitter
BOTHELL, Wash. (Tethers Unlimited PR) — Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI) announced that it has successfully delivered the first flight unit of its new K-Band transmitter for small satellites to a confidential customer.
Developed under a Small Business Innovation Research contract from the US Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command, the SWIFT®-KTX transmitter builds upon TUI’s high-maturity SWIFT software defined radio platform to enable satellites as small as a loaf of bread to transmit data at rates exceeding 100 megabits per second (Mbps).
SWIFT-KTX provides small satellites with a high-throughput downlink in K-band. When paired with the next generation SWIFT baseband processor and sufficient link margin, real data rates of 500 Mbps or more are achievable using high order modulation (>3 bits/Hz) and Turbo/LDPC encoding.
Two transmitter front-end modules are currently in development. Each module includes a two 2W PAs that directly drive two switchable WR-42 waveguide interfaces for left/right antenna polarization agility. A third ≈10 dBm waveguide output is available before the PAs for driving TWTAs and integrated K-band ESAs.
- >500 MHz real modulation bandwidth
- Two discrete designs covering approximately:
- 18-23 GHz
- 23-28 GHz
- ≈ 3 dBm saturated output power w/ ≈20 dB adjustable range
- Three switchable WR-42 waveguide outputs (two w/ HPAs)
- >3 year LEO mission design life
- 1/3U or smaller: 86×86 x < 40mm
- < 500 grams
- 6-36V unregulated DC
- Integrated latch-up/fault detection and protection
- Flexible mounting options
- Flanges for deck mounting
- Ears for CubeSat rail mounting
- Power consumption:
- Current generation 50 MHz baseband processor: ≈3W
- Next generation 500 MHz baseband processor: ≈15W
- K/Ka-band module power consumption for 33 dBm output: ≈16W
- High-speed interface options:
- 1Gbit Ethernet
- 200 Mbps SpaceWire (LVDS)
- 200 Mbps sync. HDLC over LVDS
- 10+Gbps SERDES (next generation baseband processor only)