X-Band to Ka-Band Compact Ultra-Low Noise Amplifier (LNA)


Technology abstract

Callisto has developed an ultra-low noise cryogenic amplifier for satellite ground stations which features zero maintenance cryo-coolers. The Cryo-LNAs improve antenna’s performance from X-band to Ka-Band frequencies.

Technology Description

Callisto designs and produces ultra-low noise cryogenic amplifiers for satellite ground stations. The new generation of Callisto’s LNA is equipped with patented zero maintenance cryo-coolers which allow a service life of 10+ years with no intervention for the cryo-cooler or vacuum integrity.
The device has been successfully used by clients such as CNES and ESA.
The LNA delivers a compelling antenna performance improvement in the sectors of:

  • Radio astronomy and remote sensing bands of X-Band (8.0GHz) and Ka-Band (26GHz)
  • Satcom K-Band (20GHz)
  • Military Satcom (7.5GHz)
  • Other frequencies on demand.

Please see the video with the following link: http://www.callisto-space.com/en/actualite/new-video-on-our-compact-cryo-lna.php
Two models are available: single and dual channel

Innovations & Advantages

The benefits of using a cryogenic LNA is that the Noise Temperature (NT) of the LNA can be typically halved, compared to a system with a conventional uncooled LNA. This enables the use of a smaller diameter antenna to achieve the required G/T performance. The Cryo‐LNA benefits include:

  • Reducing antenna build costs by 20% or more.
  • 150K€ savings for a 10m Earth Observation antenna.
  • Reduced surface accuracy issues ‐ affecting side‐lobes, NT and Gain.
  • Reduced windage issues and hence reduced tracking equipment costs.
  • Improved antenna pointing operation (smaller antenna = wider beam).
  • Improved data transfer rates, of up to 60%.

Reducing satellite emission power ‐ the 2dB additional margin allows a decreasing of the satellite transmit power, extending mission life.

Further Information

The LNA’s specifications are presented Table 1
The Compact cryogenic LNA comprises the main RF and cooler unit (as pictured) and a power supply unit that can be either a compact module, or a 19” rack mount unit.

Current and Potential Domains of Application

The technology is suited for the following main applications:

  • Deep Space Probes
  • Radio-astronomy
  • Earth Observation