Neo-TWT for satellite amplification, here to address new satellite platforms

Ranking number one worldwide as provider of space amplification, it is no surprise that satellite manufacturers and operators rely heavily on Thales’s amplification solutions to connect people, observe the earth, explore outer space and provide high-decision positioning systems worldwide.

The development of Solid State Power Amplifier (SSPA) technologies has led to a rise in the use of active antennas on board of geostationary satellites. A new generation of flexible satellites, as well as the increased used use of active antennas on board, have necessitated technological evolutions which, in turn, are putting pressure on the business for Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers (TWTA) which are normally used as the main RF amplification solution.

In order to meet customers’ needs as well as market changes, Thales MIS is putting in place a disruptive strategy. On one hand, it aims to develop its own SSPA portfolio. On the other hand, MIS is innovating and proposing a new TWT (Travelling Wave Tube) solution that will be applicable to active antennas thanks to its higher compactness and lower weight than standard TWT, thus driving down the mass and volume requirements on spacecraft.

The “Neo-TWT” provides an alternative technology to SSPA, filling in the gap in Ku/Ka bands between traditional TWT and emerging SSPA solutions. Neo-TWT boasts a lot of key features such as an optimized design, easier integration, larger bandwidth, a higher frequency and greater power. Overall, Neo-TWT is based on the TWTA technology combining two TWTs on a single base plate, and is classified as being in between the traditional SSPA and TWTA technologies. It will retain a lot of TWT characteristics and high-level performance whilst its application will be more along the lines of that of an SSPA.


Moreover, the Neo will offer greater efficiency than that of an SSPA, as well as requiring less power from solar panels whilst limiting its thermal dissipation. The standardisation of the tube will also make it more favourable to mass production and therefore will have a beneficial impact on the products’ competitiveness. 


This portfolio extension now means that Thales can offer a full range of amplification solutions for the space segment as well as being able to meet customers’ needs with high-performance and cost-effective Neo-TWT technology.

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