Key enablers for next generation satellite communications payload – with Texas Instruments


Episode 54 of the Space Industry podcast is a discussion with Adrian Helwig, Analog Field Application Engineer, and Michael Seidl, Systems Engineer from Texas Instruments, about how to develop a high-performing satellite communications payload.


Episode show notes

Texas Instruments is a global semiconductor manufacturing company with expertise in analog and embedded processing chips. The company was founded in 1930 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas. In this episode, we discuss the rising demand for high-performing satellite communications payloads, as well as the technical systems required to support these high-performance systems. Some of the other key points that we discuss in this episode are as follows:

  • Beamforming / electronically steered antennas, power density, and low board space are key requirements to enable it
  • RF sampling at high-frequency bands with high instantaneous bandwidth, high-speed ADCs are needed, extremely high quality clocking even more, RF amplifiers replace bulky baluns with even better linearity
  • High processing needs require efficient power supply as well as power generation capabilities
  • Advanced security is a key requirement for new missions (e.g. IRIS2 will use quantum key distribution)
  • NewSpace technologies like laser communication, require high-speed data acquisition systems as well as precision pointing systems that require advanced motor control solutions

Links and resources mentioned in the podcast

The space portfolio of Texas Instruments

The Texas Instruments ADC12DJ5200-SP device is an RF-sampling, giga-sample, analog-to-digital converter (ADC) that can directly sample input frequencies from DC to above 10 GHz. It can be configured as a dual-channel, 5.2 GSPS ADC, or single-channel, 10.4 GSPS ADC. The support of a useable input frequency range of up to 10 GHz enables direct RF sampling of L-band, S-band, C-band, and X-band for frequency agile systems.

The Texas Instruments AFE11612-SEP is an integrated analog monitor and control device designed for high-density, general-purpose monitor and control systems. It includes 12 12-bit digital-to-analog converters (DACs) and a 16-channel, 12-bit, analog-to-digital converter (ADC). The device also incorporates eight general-purpose inputs and outputs (GPIOs), two remote temperature sensor channels, and a local temperature sensor channel.

The Texas Instruments TPS50601A-SP is a step-down converter suitable for Space Satellite Point of Load Supply for FPGAs, Microcontrollers, data converters and ASICs. The product is radiation hardened, space-graded and is tested for on-orbit Single Event Effects (SEE) event rates in LEO and GEO using Cosmic Ray Effects on Micro-Electronics 96 (CREME96).

The Texas Instruments TPS7A4501-SP is a low-dropout (LDO) regulator for space-grade subsystems such as FPGA, data converters and analog circuitry. The radiation hardened regulator is optimized for fast-transient response and is designed to have very-low output noise making it suitable for RF supply applications.

The Texas Instruments TPS7H1101A-SP is a LDO linear regulator suitable in power supply for RF, VCOs, receivers, and amplifiers. The regulator is suitable for satellite point of load supply for FPGAs, microcontrollers, ASICs, and data converters. The thermal protection, current limit and current foldback features of the regulator make it suitable for space environment.

The Texas Instruments TPS7H4001-SP is a synchronous buck converter suitable for satellite point of load supply, communications and optical imaging payload. The converter is radiation hardened available in a thermally enhanced ceramic flatpack package with integrated low-resistance high-side and low-side MOSFETs. Current mode control helps achieve high efficiency and reduced component count.

The Texas Instruments TPS7H4002-SP is a synchronous step down converter suitable for space satellite point of load supply for FPGAs, microcontrollers, data converters, and ASICs. The product is offered in a thermally enhanced 20-pin ceramic, dual in-line flatpack package and is integrated with high-side and low-side MOSFETs.

The Texas Instruments TPS7H5001-SP is a radiation-hardened PWM controller designed for space applications. It provides a number of features that are beneficial for the design of DC-DC converter topologies intended for space applications. The controller can be driven using an external clock through the SYNC pin or by using the internal oscillator at a frequency programmed by the user. It also has a 22-pin CFP package.

The Texas Instruments TRF0206-SP is a radiation hardened Radio Frequency (RF) amplifier optimized for RF applications. It is mainly suitable for ac-coupled applications that require a single-ended to differential conversion when driving an analog-to-digital converter (ADC). The device is fabricated in Texas Instruments’ advanced complementary BiCMOS process and is available in a space-qualified, LCCC package. A power-down feature is also available for power savings.

satellite communication
supply chain

related articles

Blog home

Microsatellite and CubeSat platforms on the global market

CubeSat thrusters and small satellite propulsion systems

Ground station service providers: an overview of telemetry and telecommand communication services and networks for small satellites