PAMPA - Plastic Components for Advanced Microwave Equipment of New Generation SatCom Payloads

Part of the Horizon 2020 programme, PAMPA was a two-year study on using plastic components for microwave equipment in telecom satellites. Operating in the 1 to 30 GHz range, they are used to receive microwave signals transmitted from Earth, process and convert them, then amplify them for retransmission back to the ground.

Typically the components used require expensive, hermetically-sealed metal or ceramic packaging. The aim of the PAMP study was to demonstrate that components made of plastic and printed circuit boards could offer equivalent performance and environmental resistance. 

The aim was to create a working demonstator of a Ka band Channel Amplifier with microwave integrated circuits in plastic packages. In gaining a Technology Readiness Level TRL 5, this completed the main objective of the project. 

Packaging requirements

While plastic packaging for microwave components has been successfully implemented in the challenging automotive environment, space applications face even more demanding temperatures and equipment needs to be robust enough to survive being launched into space. Drawing on our experience of using MCM molding in a number of automotive qualified applications as well as our QFN map molding technology, we were able to develop a robust encapsulation solution for the microwave integrated circuits of the demonstrator. 


European Commission Horizon 2020 programme 


Ikor Technology Centre
Thales Alenia Space
United Monolithic Semiconductors 

Related links

PAMPA: an R&D project to cut telecom satellite production costs

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