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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

K/Ka-Band Very High Data-Rate Receivers: A Viable Solution for Future Moon Exploration Missions

1
Department of Engineering, University of Perugia, via G. Duranti 93, 06125 Perugia, Italy
2
Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Telecomunicazioni (CNIT), 43124 Parma, Italy
3
GMSpazio s.r.l., Viale Guglielmo Marconi, 19, 00146 Rome, Italy
4
Silicon Infusion, CP House, Otterspool Way, Watford WD25 8HP, UK
5
Analog Devices, Energy Park, 20871 Vimercate (MB), Italy
6
Independent Researcher, 1023 Chieri (TO), Italy
7
Independent Researcher, 24030 Valbrembo (BG), Italy
8
Department of Electronics and Telecommunications, Politecnico di Torino, 10129 Torino, Italy
9
ESA-ESTEC, Keplerlaan 1, 2201 AZ Noordwijk, The Netherlands
10
PicoSaTs s.r.l., Padriciano 99, c/o Area Science Park, 34149 Trieste, Italy
11
Department of Physics, University of Trieste, via Valerio 2, 34149 Trieste, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Electronics 2019, 8(3), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8030349
Received: 16 January 2019 / Revised: 5 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 22 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Microwave and Wireless Communications)
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PDF [4071 KB, uploaded 22 March 2019]
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Abstract

This paper presents a feasibility study for a very high data rate receiver operating in the K/Ka-band suitable to future Moon exploration missions. The receiver specifications are outlined starting from the mission scenario and from a careful system analysis. The designed architecture uses a low noise front-end to down-convert the incoming K/Ka-band signal into a 3.7 GHz intermediate frequency (IF). For maximum flexibility, a software defined radio (SDR) is adopted for the I/Q demodulation and for the analog to digital conversion (ADC). The decoding operations and the data interface are carried out by a processor based on field programmable gate array (FPGA) circuits. To experimentally verify the above concepts, a preliminary front-end breadboard is implemented, operating between 27.5 and 30 GHz. The breadboard, which uses components off the shelf (COTS) and evaluation boards (EVBs), is characterized by a 46 dB gain, a 3.4 dB noise figure and a 37 dBm input-referred 1 dB compression point. Finally, a 40 Msym / s quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) signal is demodulated by means of a commercially available SDR, demonstrating the above concept. The importance of these results is that they have been obtained exploiting a class of miniaturized and low cost microwave integrated circuits currently available on the market, opening the way to a dense communication infrastructure on cislunar space. View Full-Text
Keywords: microwave receivers; K/Ka-band; Moon; cislunar space; exploration missions; cubesats; phase-noise; effective noise figure microwave receivers; K/Ka-band; Moon; cislunar space; exploration missions; cubesats; phase-noise; effective noise figure
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Alimenti, F.; Mezzanotte, P.; Roselli, L.; Palazzi, V.; Bonafoni, S.; Vincenti Gatti, R.; Rugini, L.; Baruffa, G.; Frescura, F.; Banelli, P.; Bernardi, F.; Gemma, F.; Nannetti, G.; Gervasoni, P.; Glionna, P.; Pagana, E.; Gotti, G.; Petrini, P.; Coromina, F.; Pergolesi, F.; Fragiacomo, M.; Cuttin, A.; De Fazio, E.; Dogo, F.; Gregorio, A. K/Ka-Band Very High Data-Rate Receivers: A Viable Solution for Future Moon Exploration Missions. Electronics 2019, 8, 349.

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