Indra will multiply the capabilities of Spainsat ng, one of the most advanced military satellites in the world

At its Aranjuez plant, Indra is manufacturing extremely advanced circuits that will enhance the capabilities of Spainsat NG military communications satellites that Spanish Armed Forces will be using.

Indra’s hybrid thick-film circuits will be integrated into the antennas of the two communications satellites to be operated by Hisdesat and launched into space in 2023 and 2024.

The company is currently producing one of the largest series of this kind of circuit that has ever been designed in Europe for a space mission at its facilities, as recently reported by the El Español digital newspaper.

In total, it will supply 800 circuits of different types, including the MCCM, a digitally reconfigurable hybrid that generates a multibeam used by transmitting and receiving antennas and geolocation applications, and the IFSAM, a circuit that adapts the signal for use in geolocation applications.


They are manufactured in one of Indra’s clean rooms, an environment in which all temperature, humidity and suspended particle parameters are controlled to perfection.

Nothing must go wrong because, once the circuits are in orbit, it will be impossible to replace or repair them. They must remain in operation for over more than a decade under extreme conditions.

Coming close to perfection

A large part of the work consists of testing each of the circuits, subjecting them to the most stringent tests..

They are tested to find out whether they will withstand the vibrations of the launch and that, once in space, their operations will not be affected by radiation or temperature. Encapsulation is also checked to make sure it is perfect, given that any pore in a vacuum environment would lead to the collapse and immediate destruction of the entire circuit.

The production rate secured by Indra is very high, an achievement that was highlighted by the Hisdesat operator, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus, as members of the project, during a recent visit to the company’s facilities.

In fact, this rate is well above the usual standards in the European aerospace industry, underlining Indra’s excellent technological capabilities in the field of radio frequencies and microelectronics. The company has also been the first supplier to deliver flight units within the framework of the program.

Indra and Airbus have contributed to the prior work by coming up with an industrializable, production-geared design with high levels of automation and cost efficiency, an example of the cooperation between the two multinationals.

What are the benefits of hybrid circuits?

Thick-film hybrid circuits provide much greater reliability, resilience and durability than conventional circuits and they can also be miniaturized. This makes them of particular interest to critical aerospace and military platforms, which must perform as expected under the most extreme conditions.

The Spainsat NG satellite will provide coverage for the Spanish Armed Forces over two thirds of the planet, covering the area from the American continent to the easternmost tip of Asia. Its communication antennas can be distinguished by their advanced in-orbit reconfiguration capabilities; they’ll be able to generate different X-band communication beams by means of electronic pointing, thus offering the necessary coverage at any given time and moving the beams at an extremely high speed by means of what’s known as beam hopping. The transmission antenna also provides the power required for each beam in a flexible manner. These antennas comply with the highest standards for protection against interference and other kinds of threats. The aim is to ensure the utmost capabilities and security of the Spanish Armed Forces during their deployments.

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