SatixFy UK announced the availability of functional samples of a Ku-Band RFIC and digital beamformer, developed to enable phased-array antennas for satellite ground terminals.

The Ku-Band RFIC, named Beat, supports four antenna elements, providing four independent transmit and receive channels for two polarizations. The low power and low cost RFIC integrates eight power amplifiers and eight low noise amplifiers. It interfaces directly to the antenna radiating elements on one side of a printed circuit board and to the digital beamformer on the other side.

Beat RFIC evaluation board.
Beat RFIC evaluation board.

The digital beamformer, named Prime, simultaneously combines the radiation patterns from 32 elements, entirely in the digital domain, to point, track and manage multiple beams at multiple polarizations. According to SatixFy, it can be cascaded to any size antenna and is the first commercial digital beamformer ASIC for satellite communications that implements true time delay.

Prime beamformer ASIC
Prime beamformer ASIC.

Yoel Gat, CEO of SatixFy group, said the ingenuity of the design is its scalability: the number of ICs increases with the number of antenna elements, making the architecture fully modular.

“For the first time in the satellite industry, we can offer complete low cost integrated terminals and can truly address mass markets like connected cars and IoT. Our ASICs work in tandem to provide functionality such as lower power and higher performance,” said Gat.

To support testing the Beat and Prime ASICs, SatixFy offers evaluation boards and a micro antenna test range, which can be used to demonstrate system capabilities and develop systems using the ASICs.

Micro antenna test range
Micro antenna test range.

During 2019, SatixFy plans to launch a series of products based on the two ASICs, including an antenna for short messaging mobility applications and terminals for in-flight connectivity and communications on the move (COTM) for multi-beam and LEO satellite links.

Development of the Beat and Prime ASICs was supported by the U.K. Space Agency, as part of the core competitiveness element of the European Space Agency’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) program. SatixFy submitted its proposal to develop the ASICs in April 2016 and began operation in August with 27 new employees.

Gat said, “It is remarkable what we have been able to achieve in just over two years. The ex-Qualcomm group we hired with additional key employees headed by Moche Cohen did an astonishing job. Having two new chips and EVBs ready in two years is a world-class achievement.”

SatixFy develops satellite communication software-defined radio modems and electronically steered multi-beam antennas supporting satellite applications such as DVB-S2X and RCS2. The company has locations in Bulgaria, Israel and the U.K.