Plextek RFI designs PA module for Astro Digital space flight application

Plextek RFI, a UK design house specialising in microwave and millimetre-wave IC design, has announced that it has successfully designed and supplied a microwave power amplifier (PA) module for California-based satellite manufacturer and space mission operator Astro Digital.

The module designed by Plextek RFI incorporates a power GaN output device and a GaAs driver circuit. It will form part of a propulsion system that is being supplied to an in-space transportation service company, and will be launched into space in 2019.

“The specification for this design project presented us with some significant challenges,” said Liam Devlin, CEO of Plextek RFI. “The module design seeks to maximise the DC to RF conversion efficiency, and – as with all of our power amplifier designs – attention to detail was required to manage the thermal performance in a compact space. The different packaging technologies used for the driver amplifier and the output device also necessitated an innovative approach to the PCB design.”

“It was a great experience working with Plextek RFI on this project,” said Patrick Shannon, of Astro Digital. “We needed a design partner who was skilled in all of the semiconductor device, circuit, and packaging technologies needed for our space application. Plextek RFI’s experience with high efficiency solid state amplifiers and track record really stood out from the crowd.”


About Plextek RF Integration

Plextek RFI is a UK-based design house specialising in the design and development of RFICs, MMICs and microwave/mmWave modules. We have designed over 100 custom ICs at frequencies ranging from baseband to 100GHz and are a third party design house for Wolfspeed, GCS, Qorvo and WIN. Our designs are used in a wide range of applications from test instrumentation to infrastructure equipment and very high volume consumer wireless devices. We have in-house test facilities for both bare die (RFOW) and SMT packaged components. Our microwave and mmWave module development activity encompasses a wide range of technologies including conventional SMT on laminate substrates, High Density Interconnect (HDI), chip and wire, thin film, thick film and LTCC.For more information please visit

About Astro Digital

Astro Digital is a small satellite services company providing turn-key, mission-as-a-service to our customers. We design, build, launch and operate satellite systems configured to our customers’ needs supporting a range of applications in Technology Demonstration, Earth Observation, and Communications. Our customers leverage our unique satellite know-how and services infrastructure for the collection, storage, and delivery of information.For more information please see