India: The Indian space agency, ISRO is developing Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier (TWTA) for space borne payloads. TWTA is commonly used in satellite communication links, earth observation payloads, scientific missions or probes and inter-spacecraft communications links. It consists of Electronic Power Conditioner (EPC) and Traveling Wave Tube (TWT).
A complex multidisciplinary technology, the TWT involves controlled interaction of microwave with electron beam under ultra high vacuum. ISRO said its Space Applications Centre has developed space qualified C-Band TWTA for space borne applications, jointly with the Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CEERI), Pilani.
It said qualification involves testing of fragile TWTA for severe vibration withstanding capability, which is critical during rocket launch and also satisfactory stable performance during thermal vacuum condition.
After completion of development of space qualified C-Band TWTA, the initiative to develop the Ku-Band Short Length TWT (Traveling Wave Tube) was undertaken jointly with CEERI. ISRO said this will pave the way for space qualification and indigenous realisation of Ku-Band TWTA. Further, it will be integrated with indigenously developed High Voltage EPC and Solid-state amplifier to complete it as Microwave Power Module (MPM).
Due to the requirement of large number of such devices, indigenous development can significantly reduce the dependency on foreign sources, ISRO said. TWTA is one of the integral parts of all communication payloads. Hence, their dimensions, mass and efficiency are major contributors to the satellite's power budget and require special attention.