Cosylab is participating in a two-year European Union – NextGenerationEU project, which aims to design and manufacture a Radio Frequency Telecommunication System (RFTS). The project’s innovation is reflected in the miniaturization of the RTFS system, which will be suitable for use with small satellites (SmallSats or CubeSats), even in geostationary (GEO) orbits.  

The project focuses on developing a system consisting of a radio frequency transmitter, a receiver, an amplifier, and an antenna. All components will support the high-frequency Ka-band operation at microwave frequencies ranging from 26.5 GHz to 40 GHz. 

“Currently, there are no small satellites with this technology in GEO (Geostationary Earth Orbit) orbits, but small satellites with Ka-band telecommunications systems show great potential to support existing large satellites. The project will enable the development of more cost-effective, faster, environmentally friendly and flexible satellites in LEO (Low Earth Orbit) and GEO orbits,” emphasized Miha Vitorovič, Head of Space Solutions at Cosylab, who will lead the Radio Frequency (RF) Telecommunication Components for Small Satellites project, which will run from December 1, 2022, to December 1, 2024.  

As a leading provider of software solutions for the world’s most complex, precise and advanced systems, Cosylab has been actively involved in several development projects under the auspices of the European Space Agency. As part of the Radio Frequency (RF) Telecommunication Components for Small Satellites project, Cosylab d.d. will develop the firmware for the control chip that monitors and controls the RF telecommunications component. The project is being carried out under the coordination of Paradigma Technologies d.o.o. 

The new RF system developed within the project will be suitable for use in LEO (Low Earth Orbit) and GEO (Geostationary Earth Orbit). An additional requirement for use in GEO orbit means that it must achieve a significantly higher level of protection against electromagnetic waves and cosmic radiation, which is not available in LEO – where it is shielded by the influence of the Earth’s magnetic field. 

Using such RF systems in GEO orbit will support larger satellite systems in case of failures to quickly replace the transmitting and receiving power. The system will be fully compatible with systems currently deployed on large satellites. 

“Radio Frequency (RF) telecommunication components for small satellites,” the joint project of Cosylab d.d. and Paradigma Technologies d.o.o., has been approved for co-funding through the “Incentives for R&D projects” under the Recovery and Resilience Plan of the Slovenian government, funded by the EU and its NextGenerationEU program. 

For more information about the project, see the related blog post.