World’s First Silicon Based Electronically Steered Multi-Beam Array Antenna

6 February, 2019

The Innovative ESMA Ku-band Antenna of Satixfy, is based on two ASIC chips, and aimed to provide affordable solution for IoT and Mobility Applications

SatixFy from Rehovot, Israel, and Farnborough, UK, announced the world’s first ESMA (Electronically Steered Multi-Beam Array) Ku-band 256 element array antenna for Satellite communications terminals. Utilizing a fully digital beam forming technology, the new antenna array is being demonstrated this week in SmallSat Symposium 2019 in Mountain View, CA, USA, working in an Antenna Micro Test Range to show multi-beam capabilities and antenna patterns.

The ESMA antenna can serve both as a stand-alone IoT terminal or a building block for a larger sized antenna. It is currently available in 11GHz-12GHz receive and 13.75GHz-14.5GHz transmit frequencies. SatixFy is in the final stages of developing a complete terminal with an integrated modem based on its ASIC. This terminal is planned to be a major building block in the evolving Small Satellites eco-system.

Prime ASIC Chip provides the brain for the Steering Process
Prime ASIC Chip provides the brain for the Steering Process

“We have developed a 256 element building block that can scale to very large arrays with large bandwidth without significant degradation,” said Yoel Gat, CEO of SatixFy group. “This antenna is a part of our complete terminal supporting multi-beams with our own modems and control of hardware and software. We are currently demonstrating our antennas to interested customers and a demo on a moving car.“

SatixFy’s antenna uses in-house developed chips – Prime and Beat. Prime is is the first commercial Digital Beam Former ASIC, employing True Time Delay technology for 32 antenna elements, capable of processing over 2 Tbps of data. It could be cascaded to any size of antenna.

Beat is a Ku-band RFIC employing separate up and down converters and LNA/SSPA for any polarization for 4 antenna elements. The chip realizes 8 PAs (Power Amplifiers) and 8 LNAs (Low Noise Amplifiers), thus making the implementation of Electronically Steered Antenna straight-forward, low power and low cost. It interfaces to the Prime on one side and directly to the antenna radiating elements on the other side.

“New Space” is Coming

The antenna is capable of simultaneously pointing, tracking and managing multiple beams at multiple polarizations. Using digital beam forming technology allows the antenna to handle wide bandwidth using a large number of antenna elements. Satixfy said it is designing the industry’s smallest VSATs and multi-beam electronically steered antenna arrays for a variety of mobile applications and services such as Connected Car, IoT, consumer broadband, in-flight-connectivity, communication payloads and more.

This technology targets the “New Space” emerging trend: A shift from massive traditional, multi hundred-million dollar GEO communications satellites weighting more than 5000 kg, to a new generation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations of many several-million dollar SmallSats. Each is weighting less than 500 kg, and is planned to deliver Internet and communications services. The new services demands small and chip terminals, flexible enough to follow satellites movements on the sky and easily switching to the next one in the constellation.

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Posted in: Aerospace & Defense , News , Semiconductors , Telecom and Communication , Wireless