ESA title

Earth Observation Data Downlink-LYNX: Fully integrated electronically steerable X-band downlink system

  • De-risking
EODDL-LYNX is a fully integrated electronically steerable downlink system, which takes advantage of the work performed by SENER in EODDL to integrate a Payload Data Transmitter able to provide data rates higher than 1,4 Gbps through an active electronically steerable antenna for data downlink on Earth Observation satellites in X-band.
Objectives of the Product

The amount of data to be downloaded from Earth Observation (EO) satellites is highly dependent on the type of payload, however the trend is clearly towards an increasing demand of data volumes at the time that the variety of EO payloads and complexity increase. To face this problem, SENER proposes the development of the EODDL-LYNX, which is a new version of the previous existing high-rate data downlink system called EODDL, using the work performed in the EODDL Payload Data Transmitter to integrate it with a built-in active electronically steerable antenna for data downlink on EO satellites in X-band, aiming to increase the data downlink capacity, and at the same time reducing power consumption, mass and cost respect to traditional fix antenna systems. EODDL-LYNX also allows to maximize the data transmission in orbit at low elevations, offers modulation scheme flexibility and growth potencial. In particular, EODDL-LYNX achieves a medium-high data rate, a medium power consumption, a low-medium mass and a medium cost.

Customers and their Needs

The key customers segments targeted by our product are the satellite manufactures of small satellites for the Commercial EO market, although its flexibility makes it a suitable solution for any application in which massive data downlink is required. In particular, EODDL-LYNX is a product targeting the satellite manufactures of Microsatellites and Minisatellites. The identified and approached customers are Airbus Defence and Space, Thales Alenia Space, Maxar, QinetiQ, LuxSpace, OHB-I, OHB-Systems, Deimos, Sitael, Satlantis and Satellogic. For these companies, EODDL-LYNX can represent a suitable choice or a highly convenient replacement of a previous solution initially chosen. Furthermore, six of these companies (Deimos, QinetiQ, OHB-Italy, Satlantis, Sitael and LuxSpace) have shown their interest in EODDL-LYNX by signing a support letter and have been already contacted to analyse their necessities in advance to propose this product. Moreover, it is considered to inform them of the product development advances in order to align it with their necessities as they are changing. The customer segments needs that are covered by the EODDL-Lynx product are the following: a medium-high data rate, a medium power consumption, a low-medium envelope, a medium cost and a low-medium mass.

Targeted customer/users countries

Germany, France, United States, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain and Argentina.  

Product description

EODDL-LYNX is a fully integrated electronically steerable downlink system, which integrates a Payload Data Transmitter with an active electronically steerable antenna. The active antenna system has a pyramidal configuration of five switchable antenna tiles controlled by the integrated electronic box, which implements the antenna beamforming and control function, and the base band modulation for data encoding and transmission. The electronic box also includes the power supply, external I/Fs and frequency conversion stages. The main components of the product are the mother board, the up conversion stage, the RF switch, the antenna tiles and the power supply unit. The proposed data downlink system, with built-in phased array antenna, represents an innovation respect to the available technologies and products, because it increases the amount of data that can be transmitted and at the same time, it reduces the power consumption respect to traditional X-band downlink systems which relay on fixed Isoflux antennas. In comparison with data downlink systems based on mechanically steerable antennas, EODDL-LYNX is a solution much cheaper, more compact and lighter. Our product has distributed amplification, allowing grateful degradation in case of any power amplifier fails, unlike traditional downlink systems,which are based on a unique power amplifier element.

Added Value

EODDL-LYNX presents a compact design of a fully integrated Data Downlink system, with in house developed Payload Data Transmitter and active antenna. This solution provides a maximum integration level for a low mass product. EODDL-LYNX allows to obtain higher data rates at a lower transmitted power,with low consumption comparable with traditional systems based on fix isoflux antenna. The high processing capacity of its electronics embeds a relevant growth potential towards even higher order modulations and more advanced SDR based signal processing. The reprogrammable FPGA allows offering to the end-user a high flexibility to adapt the product to the specific needs of each program. The product has been conceived at start adopting a modular approach, targeting a family of simplified versions of one or three tiles for cost optimization in mission with low data download requirements. This flexibility is offered at the price of a limited customisation cost. Therefore, the EODDL-LYNX product presents a competitive price. This solution also allows to have higher contact time than isoflux based systems and presents a distributed amplification which, in case of a failure in a power amplifier, results in a small impact on the total power transmitted.

Current Status

The EODDL-LYNX project is focused on the design and breadboard of a X-band active electronically steerable antenna as an alternative to mechanically steerable antennas, and on the integration of the antenna and the modem developed in the previous InCubed project in a single box configuration for data downlink on Earth Observation satellites. EODDL-LYNX inherits the experience of SENER producing antennas for satellites including Earth Observation applications. SENER has soundtrack record in the RF and communication system market for space applications, outstanding flight heritage in RF units and well stabilised commercial relationship with the key industrial actors in Europe and America. Thanks to that SENER has well established key resources to successfully complete this activity. SENER has experience on space qualified electronics units in ESA missions and is a leader in Commercial and ESA programs for antennas, RF products and electronics.

Prime Contractor Company
Contractor Project Manager
Ignacio Montesinos Ortego
Av. Los Castros, CDTUC, 1º floor, Office 101-105 University of Cantabria, 39005 Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Tel.: +34 647486478

ESA Technical Officer
Antonio Miraglia

Current activities