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The General Dynamics Small Deep Space Transponder (SDST) is an X-band/Ka-band transponder terminal for telecommunication with NASA Deep Space Network (DSN).

It was developed in collaboration with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The radiation and SEU tolerant system uses a signal processing ASIC, multichip modules, and MMICs extensively for enabling the nearly deep space mission communications.

Key features

  • NASA Deep Space Network (DSN) compatible
  • Redundant I/O for cross-strapping
  • Includes X-Band Receiver and X- and Ka-Band Exciters
  • Temperature-compensated receiver VCO
  • Low Exciter Spurious, Phase Noise, and Allan Deviation
  • Radio Science Mode (using USO Input)
  • MIL-STD-1553 Interface; Standard and Low Power
  • External power converter synchronization capability
  • Operates under launch environments
  • Radiation and SEU resistant
  • Internal telemetry modulation encoder
  • Internal Command Detector with External Baseband Input
  • Mounting in either of two axes

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Last updated: 2022-02-28

Small Deep Space Transponder (SDST)



< 7.0 lb
7.13 in (envelope size)
6.55 in (envelope size)
4.50 in (envelope size)
frequency stability
0 to 50°C: ± 5.0 ppm maximum
data rate
7.8125 - 4000 bps (2n steps, PM/PSK, NRZ)
BPSK (to 15 Mbps)
QPSK (to 30 Mbps) upgradeable to 100 Mbps
X-Band UL Freq Range (Fixed Channel): 7.145 -7.235 GHz
X-Band DL Freq Range (Fixed Channel): 8.400 -8.500 GHz
Ka-Band DL Freq Range (Fixed Channel): 31.800 - 32.300 GHz
rf power
10 dBm
forward error correction
(255/223) Reed-Solomon with interleave depth I=1 to 5
Convolutional 15-1/2, 15- 1/4, 15-1/6, 7-1/2; Manchester.


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