MIRAD is one of the leading companies in developing, manufacturing and providing innovative solutions of passive microwave systems and components for the satellite communications industry. More than 30 years of experience in RF technology guarantee the highest performance from the early design stage through development to delivery and installation.

MIRAD microwave is your trusted partner for gigahertz innovations from 1 to 70 GHz. Our solutions and components are key factors for the success of global communication systems and interplanetary space missions.

MIRAD microwave will be exhibiting at Europe’s largest exhibition and conference for the space and satcom industry. The Space Tech Expo, Europe in Bremen (Germany). Visit us in our booth #L57 in Hall 5 or contact us for a direct meeting under info@mirad.ch.

Detailed information: www.spacetechexpo.eu/

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Systems

Engineering

Components

Ka-Band High Performance Feed

ViaSat-1 is a HTS (=High Throughput Satellite) owned by Viasat. Launched in 2011, it is the world’s highest capacity communications satellite with a total capacity in excess of 140 Gbit/s, more than all the satellites covering North America combined, at the time of its launch. The significant increase in capacity is achieved by a high level frequency re-use and spot beam technology which enables frequency re-use across multiple narrowly focused spot beams (usually in the order of 100s of kilometers).

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Ka-Band High Performance Feed

ViaSat-1 is a HTS (=High Throughput Satellite) owned by Viasat. Launched in 2011, it is the world’s highest capacity communications satellite with a total capacity in excess of 140 Gbit/s, more than all the satellites covering North America combined, at the time of its launch. The significant increase in capacity is achieved by a high level frequency re-use and spot beam technology which enables frequency re-use across multiple narrowly focused spot beams (usually in the order of 100s of kilometers).

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X-/K-Band Feeds for DSA2 & DSA3

The European Space Agency (ESA) runs several scientific exploration and research deep space missions e.g. Rosetta, Mars-Express, Venus-Express or space observatories like Herschel or Planck. To ensure a reliable communication with such deep space probes, ESA has built up a ground station antenna network all over the globe.

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Switching & Combining System

In order to bundle the many different TV channel signals to a limited amount of antennas, high performance Tx switching and combining systems are required to guarantee a continuous operation. Therefore during the last two decades MIRAD has not only been the prime provider of various feed systems for SES’s ground station antenna parc in Betzdorf, Luxembourg, but has also designed and manufactured a large amount of complex switching and combining systems, often consisting of 2×9 channels.

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X-Band 25kW High Power Harmonic Reject Filter

In the year 2015 MIRAD has been requested by ESA for the development of a special harrmonic reject filter to be implemented in their 25 kW X-band high power amplifiers (HPA) delivered by Rheinmetall Italy S.p.A. and installed in their deep space antennas in Cebreros and Malrgüe. At that time there was no supplier in Europ on high power harmonic reject filters. Since MIRAD has been know at ESA for its waveguide filter expertise, this request came to our desk. The filter is used to suppress the harmonic output frequency response of the HPA by more than 60 dB to ensure that these harmonic spurious signals do not interfere with signal transmission and do not affect or degrade the overall performance of the antenna. After the successful testing, MIRAD delivered two units of this special harmonic reject filter to its customer in 2016, who integrated them into its HPAs and implemented them in ESAs deep space network. Since then, these filter units have helped to ensure the communication between Earth and several deep space missions. In 2021 Rheinmetall requested again one device that had been manufacrured and delivered in summer 2022. Key technical challenges: Power handling of 25kW Thermal design of the high power device Avoidance of corona brakdown (arcing) Compact design by ennvelop requirements  Minimization of Insertion losses Mode spike free design Key functionalities: X-band signal transmission (Tx: 7.145 – 7.235 GHz) Harmonic suppression >60 dB at 14.290 to 14.470 GHz and 21.435 to 21.705 GHz Insertion Loss <0.05dB (Spec.: <0.2 dB) Return Loss >28 dB (Spec.: >26.8 dB) Water cooled Project partner: ESA/ESOC, Rheimetall Italy S.p.A.

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S/X/K-Band Feed System

National and international satellite missions such as the European Earth observation programs like Copernicus or the Sentinel satellites provide observational data on the state of the Earth’s ecosystem. In addition, the numerous new missions, e.g. the introduction of new transmission technologies such as the European Data Relay Satellite (EDRS) System, are generating exponentially increasing data volumes. These missions require increasingly powerful receiving facilities and ground station technology. For this reason, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has commissioned a new tri-band remote sensing antenna at its Neustrelitz site.  This 11.5-meter ring-focus (ADE) antenna system combines operation on S/X- and K-band frequencies at the same time and place. MIRAD delivered a dual circularly polarized S/X/K-band feed system for this ground station antenna. The feed horns have a concentric architecture with the largest S-band structure on the outer row and the smallest K-band aperture in the center. The optimized junction for S- and X-band provide very good conditions for sum and delta signal transmission. The K-bands horn and circular waveguide are connected to a MIRAD standard feed combiner including a TE21-mode tracking coupler. The overall feed system design results in a very compact and highly integrated network solution with very low losses. The S-band diplexers use a folded design architecture to keep the physical length as short as possible. The feed components such as diplexers, OMTs and monopulse tracking couplers are integrated in a thermally isolated and ventilated feed tube. Since 2016, the ground station is still in operation and the communication works as expected. On site measurements show excellent results with high antenna efficiencies. Key technical challenges: Lowest possible losses Compact feed horn design due to applied concentric concept Coaxial S-band tracking network Highly integrated design Combination of three frequency bands Key functionalities: S-band TX & RX capability (2.025 – 2.120 GHz & 2.200 – 2.300 GHz) X-band RX capability (7.800 – 8.500 GHz) K-band RX capability (25.50 – 27.00 GHz) Dual circular polarization in all bands Triple tracking operation in S-/X- & K-band Powerhandling 200W   Project partner: Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- & Raumfahrt (DLR), CPI Vertex Antennentechnik GmbH

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European Data Relay Satellite System (EDRS)

The first payloads launched in 2016 and 2019 for the European Data Relay System (EDRS) system are the Sentinel-1 and -2 satellites of the Copernicus Program also known under Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES). The EDRS consists out of a constellation of GEO satellites that transmit information and data between satellites, spacecraft and ground stations. EDRS will provide data relay services to the Sentinel satellites and enable high-speed downlink for large quantities of visual material that require high data rate transmission.  EDRS infrastructure consists of two geostationary payloads, a ground system consisting of a satellite control centre, a mission and operations centre, a feeder link ground station (FLGS), and data ground stations (DGS). The European Space Agency (ESA) funded the ground segment infrastructure and and commissioned the industry to built four ground station antennas, two in Weilheim (Germany), one in Redu (Belgium) and one Harwell (United Kingdom). In this infrastrucutral project MIRAD microwave has been requested to design and deliver antenna feed systems for all three (RDGS, HDGS, FLGS, BFLGS) ground segment antennas in 2013. A fifth additional feed system has been ordered and delivered in 2018 to our customer.  Due to the fact that each ground segment location had different requirements for testing and operational conditions, three different and very complexe feed systems including redundancy switching Rx & Tx networks have been built. The feed systems are used for In-Orbit Testing (IOT), Telemetry (TM), Data Downlink (RX DL), Telecommand (TC) and Tracking (Trk) operations. The figures illustrate the CAD models of all feed feed combiners, the final feed system and its integration in the feed tube, the switching unit for the BFLGS feed  Key technical challenges: Operational mode switching Highly integrated waveguide structures to minimize losses Compact multilayer waveguide design Thermal design and analysis for adequate power handling capability High isolation between Rx and Tx unit Key functionalities: Ku- and Ka-band multimode operation with electronic switchable mode selection (between IOT to TC) TE21 mode monopulse tracking capability (Rx-Trk: 25.50 – 26.56 GHz) for BFLGS, FLGS & DGS  Telecommand (Tx TC: 27.5 – 27.6 GHz) for BFLGS, FLGS, DGS  Telemetry (Rx TM: 19.6 – 19.8 GHz) for BFLGS and FLGS  In-Orbit Test (Rx IOT: 23.185 – 23.225 GHz) for BFLGS Data downlink (Rx DL: 25.50 – 26.56 GHz, Rx DL IOT 25.50 – 26.01 GHz) for BFLGS, FLGS & DGS    Project partner: Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- & Raumfahrt (DLR), SES Astra TechCom, Hitec

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Q/V-Band Feed for Alphasat TDP#5

The Alphasat I-XL, launched in 2013, included beyond its main task several ESA TDPs (Technology Demonstration Payloads). TDP5 includes a Q-/V Band communications experiment to assess the feasibility of these bands for future commercial applications.

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