GANSAT Objectives and approach

GANSAT project will demonstrate that GaN-based SSPA will be able to provide high power at Ka band.

This will be achieved by exploiting the recent development in GaN technologies, high-efficiency power amplifier design techniques, spatial power combining and active array antenna technologies.

Tthe project will be dealing mostly with the design of a high efficient Ka-band GaN RF front-end. In order to achieve this main goal the project addresses significant challenges in high frequency high powersatellite radio transceivers from several different angles, as follows:

Space Qualification

Space qualification of GaN MMIC

Linearization Technique

New linearization technique


Packaging of GaN MMIC

It is expected that a power output of several hundreds of Watts at Ka band will be achievable by using the approach to be taken in GaNSAT. This will be a significant step beyond the state of the art, and will open the door for GaN-based SSPA into various space applications such as satellite communications, DBS and SAR. Due to high power density of GaN devices, the system will have advantages of compact size, low mass and low cost, suitable for low-cost small satellites where the physical size, mass, power consumption and cost pose serious restrictions. The GaN amplifier will also be useful applications into large satellites and enable significant reduction in size, mass and cost.


High-efficiency high-power multi-beam active Tx/Rx antenna


High-efficiency high-linearity PA


Enhanced robustness and functionality of radio transceivers at Ka-band



Some of GaNSAT Example Figures

List of Workpackages

Find below the Project Workstructure


Project Management & Coordination

Work Package 1 - Project Management & Coordination


The project management has the main goal of co-ordinating financial and administrative issues. The management is based on close supervision of the project milestones, ongoing tasks and resource consumption, by means of computer-based project management facilities and internal monthly progress and resource consumption reports. Project Management is the most essential component of the GaNSAT project, ensuring the quality of results of the project activities and tasks, as well as that the target dates for deliverable deadlines are achieved.

The objectives of this WP are:

  • Ensuring administrative management of the project.
  • Developing a spirit of co-operation between the partners.
  • Ensuring consensus management and information circulation among the partners.
  • Ensuring project reporting and interface with the REA.
  • Surveillance of gender and ethical issues.

Description of work

The coordinator will elaborate and develop a handbook for project management, including guidelines for financial reporting, quality measures for deliverables and reports to the REA, measures to ensure timely reporting, etc. It will be presented to all partners in the kick-off-meeting. This operating plan, together with an internal communication plan and a development plan, will be the prerequisite for a successful project management and monitoring.


System Definition & Equipment System Requirements

Work Package 2 - System Definition & Equipment System Requirements


The objectives of this WP are:
  • The definition of the system, including user requirement analysis, study of the regulatory framework.
  • The definition of the general architecture, including system simulation.
  • The definition of the payload and of the antenna system.
  • To derive the requirements applicable to equipments that will be realised within GaNSat.

Description of work

The GanSat project aims at developing new equipments based on the GaN technology for space applications. Within the GanSat project, we will focus on the utilization of a low HEO constellation of satellites to cover high latitude regions in case of a disaster. In WP2, we will follow a top down approach, from the user requirement and regulatory frame analysis down to the definition of the equipments requirements to answer to the mission.


GaN Process development for Ka Band and fabrication

Work Package 3 - GaN Process development for Ka Band and fabrication


FBH´s GaN MMIC technology will to be adapted such that both, high power Ka-band and low noise Ka-Band MMICs are feasible on the same wafer in a reliable and reproducible manner.

Description of work

Furthermore, active and passive MMIC components will be modelled in conjunction with the establishment of a design library. High power and low noise transistors will be designed and implemented in the library. Based on this work the project partners will be able to place their individual Ka-band MMIC designs on FBH Ka-band GaN process runs. After fabrication and suitable on-wafer characterization of the chips FBH will deliver those to the partners for system integration.


Multi-beam designs, implement & testing

Work Package 4 - Multi-beam active antenna array designs, implementation and testing


The main objectives of this WP are:
  • Definition of the configuration for the multi-beam bi-directional active arrays for both transmitting and receiving;
  • Design and simulation of the antenna array including radiating elements and feeds;
  • Implementation and characterization of the antenna array for the demonstrator.

Description of work

This work package is responsible for the designs, simulations, fabrication and testing of multi-beam bi-directional active integrated planar antenna arrays, following the specifications developed in WP1. As a high degree of integration of the overall multi-beam active array is intended, this work package also will be closely linked with transceiver designs (WP5) and MMIC designs and space qualifications (WP6). This WP will work closely with WP5, WP6 and WP7. The antenna will be developed on the basis of multi-beam active planar lens antenna.


Transceiver Architecture Design

Work Package 5 - Transceiver Architecture Design


The main objectives for this work package are:
  • To design suitable and efficient architectures for both GaN PA and LNA;
  • To study and evaluate the integration of PA and LNA chips with antenna arrays;
  • To assess the integration performance of the multi-beam active antenna arrays and RF front-end MMIC.

Description of work

This work package will be dedicated to design and evaluate architectures for GaN-based power amplifier and low noise amplifier RF front-end MMIC. This will interconnect at the input with an active lens antenna array and will then consider several parallel chains to increase the achievable output power by performing spatial power combining through an active antenna array. This work-package is composed of four main tasks that will cover specific parts of the GaN MMIC RF front-end design.


GaN MMIC Design and Space Qualification

Work Package 6 - GaN MMIC Design and Space Qualification


The main objectives of this work package are the following ones:
  • To coordinate and lead GaN MMIC designs to be fabricated in WP3, according to the space industry rules (derated maximum ratings and robustness criteria among others);
  • To organize design documentation (equivalent to detailed specification and design report), and to generate the tile for the foundry run. The foundry DRC (Design Rules Check) will be carried out in cooperation with FBH;
  • To carry out a full space qualification of designed GaN MMICs fabricated in WP3. The qualification plan will follow standard ECSS-Q-60-12C WP (Sequence “C” and “D” plus additional space environment tests) participants will be FBH (Wafer screening and acceptance testing) and MIER (Dies incoming and user LAT).

Description of work

This work package is composed of six main tasks:
  • Compilation of MMIC design rules according to space industry;
  • Generation of MMIC detailed specifications, according to transceiver design carried out in WP5, and design library generated by the foundry;
  • MMIC design;
  • Coordination of MMIC design results with transceiver design tasks included in WP5;
  • Compilation of all MMIC designs coming from different partners in the consortium;
  • Generation of the tile for the foundry run and DRC (Design Rules Check) run.


Prototype assembly, integration and test

Work Package 7 - Prototype assembly, integration and test


The main objective of this work package is to carry out the necessary procurement, manufacturing, integration and test activities to validate that the proposed GaN devices work as defined in the other WPs.

Description of work

The AIT/AIV plan will be based on ESA standards such as ECSS-Q-ST-70-08C, ECSS-Q-ST-70-11C, ECSS-QST-70-38C and ECSS-E-10-03A, which are the ones applied in European Flight Programmes. These standards will be tailored to meet the needs but with limits that can be withstand by the hardware at stake. Inputs from WP2 and WP5 are expected for WP7 activity; in particular it is expected the collaboration of IT to provide inputs from the hardware design to allow generating the parts lists and test procedures. IT will also collaborate in providing access to test facilities when found applicable and not covered by Efacec. Most of them are allocated in WP7, although other manufacturing steps are carried out in WP4 (the antenna) and WP3 (the MMICs fabrication). It is expected ASTRIUM collaboration in the review meetings and key inspection points. MIER activity in this WP7 is focused on the MMICs packaging generating the MHICs using MIER facilities. For the different building blocks, as well as for the different assemblies up to the final equipment unit completion.


Commercial Evaluation

Work Package 8 - Commercial Evaluation


The main objective of this work package is to carry out a commercial evaluation of the different technologies, products or possible services developed in the frame of the project. This will include also a mission analysis from the commercial point of view.

Description of work

GaN technology is not yet so common in space industry. The efforts to develop this technology in this project could provide not only new products for new types of mission (based on very small payloads in which TWTAs have been replaced by High Efficiency GaN SSPAs), but also new services (a new GaN process as a foundry service, or even a new specific GaN packaging technology). This new services will have a significant commercial interest for several SMEs included in the consortium, boosting their present roles in the space market.


Dissemination & Exploitation Activities

Work Package 9 - Dissemination & Exploitation Activities


The objective of this work package is to ensure a smooth and effective project-related dissemination, exchange and feedback of information to external parties interested, including the EC bodies, in line with the agreed in the Consortium Agreement to be signed by all project partners at start up of the project. Further, the objective includes the production of material to be published in various media and especially created for the general public to make the project visible.

Description of work

Key actions will comprise dispatching information about the project and its innovative results in international scientific journals, and throughout relevant international and national conferences and EU seminars. Supporting tools will be used to enhance the process, like releases, newsletters, technical papers, conference and internal company presentations, external presentations to experts, public web site with associated mailing list and Study Outcome publications.


Scientific and technical coordination

Work Package 10 - Scientific and technical coordination


Technical and Scientific Coordination. Technological benchmark review.

Description of work

Technical coordination comprises all coordination of research and technical developments in the project. Review of project deliverables and close coordination with the end user group e.g. to take into account their comments from the workshops.

GanSAT Partners

Partners from Portugal, Spain, England, France and Germany make this project a reality

FBH is one of the internationally leading institutes for applied research in microwaves and optoelectronics. The institute has a staff of 245 employees and a budget of 22 million Euro. It is part of the Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB) and member of the Leibniz Association.
Based on III-V semiconductors it designs and manufactures optoelectronic, high-frequency and power switching devices and circuits for wide-spread applications. FBH conducts basic investigations and applied research on III/nitridesfor future applications such as short-wave UV light sources, transistors and MMICs for microwave applications and high power, high voltage switching transistors.
Astrium SAS, part of EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company) is a world leader in the design and manufacture of satellite systems. In the field of satellite telecommunication, Astrium is well known as a system integrator and a major satellite prime contractor. Astrium has accumulated a long standing experience covering all domains of satellite systems: Earth observation, science, telecommunication and navigation.
University of Kent (Unikent) is a public research university founded in 1965. Unikent is regarded as the UK’s European University as its main campus is the closest to the European continent. Unikent runs over 500 undergraduate and 120 postgraduate programmes in addition to undertaking world-class research in a diverse range of scientific and technological areas. The main academic disciplines include electronic engineering, information technology, computer science, business administration, economics. There are currently over 18,000 students at the Unikent. Unikent will participate with the Broadband and Wireless Communications Research Group in the School of Engineering and Digital Arts.
MIER COMUNICACIONES is a privately-held company based in La Garriga (Barcelona) with more than 50 years of tradition in the radiofrequency industry. The Company is organized around two Business Units (BU) and one Technology Unit (TU):
  • The Transmissions BU is a world-wide reference supplier of professional equipment for digital TV and radio broadcasting (mainly transmitters and onchannel/isofrequency repeaters) as well as network-integrated telephony repeaters. The unit covers the activity from development to manufacturing including marketing, sales and distribution.
  • The Space BU supplies microwave equipment to the world leading satellite manufacturers for a wide range of applications, such as telecommunications, navigation, space exploration or earth observation. The unit has in-house ESAqualified for Hi-Rel manufacturing and space hardware testing. Recently, MIER has been responsible for design and manufacturing of Glileo’s Mission Receiver and Search & Rescue system among other EU programs.
  • The Strategic Technology Projects Unit takes care of mid/long term R&D activities for the whole company in a business-oriented profitable way, contributing to keep company’s technological position in the leading edge of the different markets in which is present.
Instituto de Telecomunicações (IT) is a private, not-for-profit organization, of public interest, a partnership of five institutions with experience and traditions in research and development in the field of Telecommunications: Instituto Superior Técnico (IST); Universidade de Aveiro (UA); Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra (FCTUC); Portugal Telecom Inovação, S.A. (PTIn); and Siemens, S.A. Its main mission is to create and disseminate scientific knowledge in the field of telecommunications by being actively involved in fundamental and applied research in telecommunications, both at national and international level. Simultaneously it is committedto foster higher education and training, by hosting and tutoring graduate and postgraduate students. It is organized around three sites: one in Aveiro, in the University Campus, another inCoimbra, and the third one in Lisbon at IST. Its main scientific expertise, spans through W ireless Communications, Optical Communications, Networks and Multimedia and the horizontal area of Basic Sciences and Enabling Technologies.
EVOLEO is a SME, investing in skills related to the design of critical and highly complex electronic systems. EVOLEO embraces five areas of activity: Space, Transportation, Industry, Energy and Health.
EVOLEO holds a skilled multidisciplinary engineering team seeking and promoting partnerships and networking between centers of knowledge and industry players. We strongly cooperate, among others, with European Space Agency (ESA), REFER, EMEF, EFACEC, R&D groups from Porto and Aveiro, either University or Polytechnic.
EVOLEO Technologies mission is to provide high-end and differentiated electronic engineering solutions, seeking continuous improvement, flexibility, quality and customer oriented innovation. We aim international recognition as a technological company for leveraging partnerships, added value enhancement and sustainable growth.
EFACEC ENG is a Portuguese company present in over 65 countries in all 5 continents, with more than 4.500 employees and around 1000 million euros of turnover. Present in sectors that represent world future development, from energy to transportation and engineering, from the environment to services and renewable energy, developing the state of the art technologies through competence and quality.
The EFACEC ENG engineering team has full access to several well-equipped laboratories for the development of electronic boards, including simulation of electronic circuits, PCB design, and component assembling as well. Moreover, the Electronic Production Unit has built a Clean-room class 100000 dedicated to assemble and test electronics equipment to be integrated in spacecrafts.