e2v has launched the EV12AD550 1.5GSps Analog-to-Digital converter (ADC), which supports high dynamic range at 4.5 GHz and S-Band direct digitization, which enables space systems to avoid costly down conversion requirements. Future Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Earth observation systems, for example, will be able to operate this ADC at up to 5.5 GHz without the need for down conversion. The removal of down conversion stages reduces the weight, size and power consumption of the overall space system, helping to reduce expensive orbit costs.

The EV12AD550 is claimed to be the first S-band ADC to feature chain synchronization for electronic steering, which offers full flexibility in antenna array and digital beamforming systems. The growing demand for electronically adapting satellite ground coverage makes chain synchronization crucial; without this, antennas have to be directed using mechanics, meaning coverage is predetermined.

Laurent Monge, vice president of Semiconductors at e2v, commented, “With the cost of sending just 1 kg into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) being as high as $50K, reducing system size, weight and power consumption is critical to our customers. The EV12AD550 can remove as many as all three down conversion stages in an RF signal chain.”