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Traveling Wave Tube (TVT) RF Power Combining Demonstration for use in the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO)The Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) is set to launch between the years 2012 and 2015. It will possibly utilize a nuclear reactor power source and ion engines as it travels to the moons of Jupiter. The nuclear reactor will produce hundreds of kilowatts of power for propulsion, communication and various scientific instruments. Hence, the RF amplification devices aboard will be able to operate at a higher power level and data rate. The initial plan for the communications system is for an output of 1000 watts of RF power, a data rate of at least 10 megabits a second, and a frequency of 32 GHz. A higher data rate would be ideal to fully utilize the instruments aboard JIMO. At NASA Glenn, one of our roles in the JIMO project is to demonstrate RF power combining using multiple traveling wave tubes (TWT). In order for the power of separate TWT s to be combined, the RF output waves from each must be in-phase and have the same amplitude. Since different tubes act differently, we had to characterize each tube using a Network Analyzer. We took frequency sweeps and power sweeps to characterize each tube to ensure that they will behave similarly under the same conditions. The 200 watt Dornier tubes had been optimized to run at a lower power level (120 watts) for their extensive use in the ACTS program, so we also had to experiment with adjusting the voltage settings on several internal components (helix, anode, collector) of the tubes to reach the full 200 watt potential. from the ACTS program. Phase shifters and power attenuators were placed in the waveguide circuit at the inputs to the tubes so that adjustments could be made individually to match them exactly. A magic tee was used to route and combine the amplified electromagnetic RF waves on the tube output side. The demonstration of 200 watts of combined power was successful with efficiencies greater than 90% over a 500 MHz bandwidth. The next step will be to demonstrate the use of three amplifiers using two magic tees by adding a 200 watt Dornier tube to the Varian and Logimetrics combined setup for a total of 400 watts. After that we will use two 200 watt Dorniers for 400 watts and eventually four 200 watt Dornier tubes to demonstrate 800 watts. After demonstrating the success of power combining, we will need to verify the integrity of a modulated signal sent through the combined tubes. The purpose will be to see what effects separating and recombining will have on the modulated signal and also what effect it will have on combining efficiency. A Bit Error Rate (BER) will be determined by a Bit Error Rate Tester (BERT) by comparing the random information it transmits to what it receives back. The process began with two 100 watt tubes, a Varian and a Logimetrics, salvaged
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Downey, Joseph A. (Toledo Univ. OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium II
Subject Category
Instrumentation and Photography
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20050186580Analytic PrimaryResearch Symposium II