MDA digital solutions, advanced radio frequency, and power products support the high-reliability requirements of space, military, and specialized commercial markets.

For five decades customers around the world have depended on MDA electronics solutions for mission-critical operations in demanding environments. Its digital solutions and real-time embedded software span system control, data handling and storage, command decoding, processing, and high-speed data compression. MDA delivers a complete range of design-to-spec and built-to-print digital products for stringent reliability and safety requirements.

MDA produces innovative RF products that create new spacecraft packaging options. MDA RF solutions are the industry’s first and best choice for space applications that contribute to spacecraft efficiency and mission success.

MDA’s broad range of advanced power products for the space industry includes an Electronic Power Conditioner (EPC) line of more than 30 standard designs suitable for the vast majority of current spacecraft buses. MDA's heritage in power products includes a 100% success rate on more than 1,000 units deployed on LEO, GEO, and deep-space missions, on manned and unmanned platforms.


SINGLE BOARD COMPUTERS: space qualified computers that support satellite platform and payload applications

Single Board ComputerMDA’s space qualified computers support the computing requirements of satellites and space robotics, tracing their decades-long heritage to the robotics used on the International Space Station (ISS) and Canada’s RADARSAT satellites. MDA’s latest offering, the ESP750, builds upon the flight proven fifth-generation ESP603 adding enhanced processing performance and environmental robustness.

The ESP750’s design is based on the IBM PowerPC 750FX™. It operates at up to 700MHz and provides 2 Mbytes of non-volatile memory, with 512 Mbytes of working on-board memory. An optional 64 Kbyte SUROM is available for applications that require higher radiation tolerance.

The ESP750’s primary communication is via a high-speed Compact PCI interface, and a dua​l redundant serial CanBus interface and programmable 16-bit GPIO is also available. Its 3U form factor, selection of high quality, space-grade parts, and fault tolerant design delivers a compact, low mass, reliable and radiation tolerant computing solution.


MOTOR DRIVE: command and control solutions for pointing and/or deployment of subsystems on-board satellites

MDMotor-Drive-ElectronicsA’s Motor Drive Electronics (MDE) provides a reliable and effective solution to the command and control of the mechanical and electrical hardware associated with the mechanisms used for the pointing and/or deployment of various other subsystems on-board satellites.

Each MOE board provides an interface capable of driving two stepper motors with four uncommitted H-Bridge Drivers each with adjustable current and voltage limits​. Full-step and Half-step operation is supported as are unrestricted drive modes capable of handling any duty cycle as well as synchronized or unsynchronized stepping of the attached motors.​ As an added benefit, the MDE can also be operated in a motor heating mode that is capable of heating motors directly through their windings alleviating the need for separate heaters.

Individual MDE boards can be combined with controller and power boards to form a scalable unit for centralized control of motors on-board the satellite​. In this regard, MDA has developed an Antenna Pointing Mechanism Electronics (APME) unit which consists of 12 MDE boards that can independently control ​12 on-board steerable antennas in two axes.

The MDA APME has flight heritage in Medium Earth orbit with a commercial communication satellite constellation.


DIGITAL COMMUNICATION: next-generation digital communication solutions for high throughput spacecraft

Digital-CommunicationsMDA designed and developed the SpaceMux, launched in 2004 on the Anik-F2 commercial telecommunications satellite, the first North American DVB-RCS compatible On-Board Processor.​ SpaceMux provides direct terminal-to-terminal connectivity for satellite-based mesh networking applications that require regenerative broadband, multimedia, and communication payloads.

The state-of-the-art SpaceMux contained a digital frequency demultiplexer and high-speed multi-carrier demodulator, developments later leveraged for the development of the Frequency Demultiplexer Modules for the Enhanced Skyplex Regenerative Transponder Units, and the development of a high speed 
(350 Mbps) continuous mode QPSK demodulator for the CASSIOPE satellite. MDA has since delivered a development unit for a digital communication Dehop-Rehop transponder for an external customer.

MDA develops processing algorithms and delivers turnkey communication subsystems that incorporate analogue  front-end and back-end modules, representing a full spectrum capability central to the development of next-generation digital communication subsystems. MDA’s work on flexible digital channelizers, digital beamformers reconfigurable on-board processors, and digital interface units is central to the realization of future flexible software-defined communication satellites.


DATA STORAGE UNITS: supports a wide range of spacecraft mass data storage needs

Data Storage UnitThe heart of the flight qualified Data Storage Unit (DSU) is MDA’s Mass Memory Board (MMB) that combines high-density non-volatile NAND Flash technology, a Leon3 processor, and programmable radiation hardened FPGAs. MDA’s proprietary high-performance architecture integrates all interface, control, and memory functions into a single, low mass, low​ power, reduced envelope implementation. A cost-effective solution for space missions with moderate data rate and memory requirements, each MMB provides 1 Tbit (BOL) of storage and up to 800 Mbps input data rate.

Powerful EDAC routines maintain a high EOL storage capacity and low BER. A Leon3 32-bit processor provides a File Management System (FMS) and capability for ancillary data handling and payload or instrument control.

MDA’s DSU can concurrently write to one file and read from two files with pass-through capability and CCSDS Transfer Frame construction for playback at a fixed downlink rate of up to 600 Mbps. Based on QML-Q or equivalent space qualified EEE parts, the DSU is suited for a radiation tolerant environment.

A standard DSU contains two MMBs with an internally redundant MDA Electronic Power Conditioner (EPC) housed within a flight-qualified chassis to serve as a redundant mass memory unit. Operating two MMBs concurrently can double unit storage and data handling capacities.

PAYLOAD MANAGEMENT: efficient solutions for distributing and collecting spacecraft commands and telemetry

Payload Management ElectronicsMDA’s Payload Management electronics provide reliable, efficient solutions for distributing and collecting commands and telemetry between the spacecraft platform Command and Data Handling (C&DH) unit and satellite communication payloads.

MDA’s Payload Management Unit (PMU) interfaces with the spacecraft C&DH via a MIL-STD-1553 bus for the transmission of commands to the payload and transmission of telemetry from the payload. The PMU is capable of generating programmable pulse commands, both high level HLC and low level LLC commands, in a matrix format interface with the payload. The PMU collects payload telemetry using a variety of interfaces including Bi-level matrix (BLM), Bi-level single ended (BSM), Analog telemetry (ASM), and Thermistor (TSM) interfaces. In addition to handling payload commands and telemetry, the PMU also has a motor drive and heater control capability, and is scalable to meet payload requirements.

MDA’s payload management electronics has flight heritage on commercial communication satellites operating in GEO orbit, and selected for the European Space Agency Columbus Ka-band intersatellite communications terminal on the International Space Station.


FREQUENCY GENERATION UNITS: stability and optimized phase noise performance

Frequency Generation UnitMDA’s versatile frequency generation units (FGUs) serve as either a fixed or agile frequency source with single or multiple frequency and outputs, and are typically custom designed for specific spacecraft requirements.

FGU subsystems are flexible, easily embedded in an assembly, such as a regenerative on-board processor, or configured as a standalone unit to deliver accurate and phase coherent frequency sources to a full payload. 

The MDA solution shown is a full subsystem currently on orbit. It provides phase lock, coherent timing, and synchronicity between multiple RF (L- and S-band) outputs, and digital clock outputs, with cross-strapping redundancy implemented as part of the unit architecture.


TRANSMIT/RECEIVE MODULES: ​custom-designed for advanced synthetic aperture radar antenna subsystems

Transmit-receive-moduleMDA Transmit/Receive Modules (TRMs) are custom designed for advanced synthetic aperture radar (SAR) antenna subsystems, and provide a technological edge for demanding remote sensing missions. RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM), scheduled for launch in 2018, incorporates MDA’s advanced design and fabrication capabilities.

The TRMs, implemented in Miniature Hybrid Microwave Integrated Circuit (MHMIC) open-chip technology, employ an optimal mix of multi-layer technology standard, with advanced custom Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) die to achieve superior performance in extreme environmental conditions.

Custom ceramic multi-layer technology High Temperature Cofired Ceramic (HTCC) packages, or metallic housings with Low Temperature Cofired Ceramic (LTCC)/Alumina, are used for packaging MDA TRMs. Advanced functionality is offered by implementing mixed signal ASIC or FPGAs for higher levels of integration, depending on customer requirements.

MDA’s commitment to quality spans the design phase, procurement, assembly, quality control, testing, screening, and final inspection, with workmanship and part lot traceability maintained throughout the processes. Adherence to stringent procedures ​at MDA's production facility results in very low failure rates for MIL-PRF-38524 Class H or K level modules.


ELECTRONIC POWER CONDITIONERS: radiation-tolerant, low-noise DC/DC converter solutions

Electronic Power ConditionersMDA Electronic Power Conditioners (EPCs) cover a spectrum of power requirements ranging from low power (4W - 15W), medium power (15W - 50W), and high power (50W - 400W).

Low power versions are ideal for many RF units, and provide tightly regulated voltages essential for Receivers, Up Converters, Down Converters, and Master Reference Oscillators, attaining up to 90 dB of rejection from the main input bus ripple. 

Medium power solutions are ideal for digital electronic units and medium power RF units. The use of secondary side synchronous rectifier Mosfets in medium and high power EPCs typically provide for very high efficiencies of over 90% depending upon the load. The MDA product line accommodates a wide range of common satellite primary bus DC input voltages including 28V (non-regulated), 50V, 70V, 100V, and 120V. High power EPCs support RF Solid State Power Amplifiers.

In addition to its standardized EPCs, MDA also offers custom design services to support specific customer requirements.

MDA EPCs have more than 50 years of flight heritage, and have been used extensively in the Shuttle Remote Manipulator Arm, the International Space Station, and in an array of radar, scientific and communication satellites for Canadian and international customers.

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