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This paper describes the design and implementation of a C-band MMIC VCO developed in the framework of activities oriented to the improvement of products for space applications. The circuit exploits a single device with a microstrip integrated resonator coupled with varactors. The exploited technology is a space-qualified GaAs 0.25-um pHEMT process. The MMIC exhibits 350-MHz bandwidth at 7.3 GHz, with 14 dBm output power and -86 dBc/Hz single side-band phase noise at 100 kHz from the carrier. Measured performances are in good agreement with simulations. The active device adopted for the design was characterized in terms of both low-frequency noise in quiescent bias-dependent operation and its up-conversion into phase noise under large-signal RF oscillating conditions, using in-house developed measurement setups. A new compact nonlinear noise model was identified, implemented and exploited for phase noise simulations. The model features cyclostationary equivalent noise generators. Comparisons between measurements and simulations show that the nonlinear cyclostationary modeling approach is more accurate than conventional noise models in oscillator phase noise analyses of pHEMT based circuits.