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The reliability of millimeter and sub-millimeter wave radiometer measurements is dependent on the accuracy of the loads they employ as calibration targets. In the recent past on-board calibration loads have been developed for a variety of satellite remote sensing instruments. Unfortunately some of these have suffered from calibration inaccuracies which had poor thermal performance of the calibration target as the root cause. Stringent performance parameters of the calibration target such as low reflectivity, high temperature uniformity, low mass and low power consumption combined with low volumetric requirements remain a challenge for the space instrument developer. In this paper we present a novel multi-layer absorber concept for a calibration load which offers an excellent compromise between very good radiometric performance and temperature uniformity and the mass and volumetric constraints required by space-borne calibration targets.