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Advanced communications satellite technology

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4 Author(s)
Mahle, C.E. ; COMSAT Labs., Clarksburg, MD, USA ; Geller, B.D. ; Potukuchi, J.R. ; Hyde, G.

Technology drivers for commercial communications satellites are examined based on the efficient use of spacecraft mass which is to be accomplished by increasing the efficiency of the microwave power amplifiers and antenna feed systems used for communications satellites, such as the INTELSAT series. The history of the INTELSAT series of satellites, the late 1980s market and available technology, and future directions of development are considered. Emphasis is on multibeam solid-state antennas, microwave switch matrices, solid-state power amplifiers, and the use of several filter modes in one physical cavity. By using quasimonolithic solid state techniques in a class B amplification mode they have achieved 40-60% efficiencies, compared with 20% for the conventional travelling wavetube amplifiers. It is concluded that technology directed towards improving the economics of satellite communications will continue to be a major driver of future communications satellite payloads. Through their use and their extension, the authors foresee more than doubling the telephone channels per satellite from the current 80000 to perhaps 200000 by the turn of the century.<>

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 11 )