Advancements in finer geometry and technology advancements in circuit design now allow placement of digital
architecture on cryogenic focal planes while using less power than heritage analog designs. These advances in
technology reduce the size, weight, and power of modern focal planes. In addition, the interface to the focal plane is
significantly simplified and is more immune to Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). The cost of the customer's
instrument after integration with the digital scanning Focal Plane Array (FPA) has been significantly reduced by placing
digital architecture such as Analog to digital convertors and Low Voltage Differential Signaling (LVDS) Inputs and
Outputs (I/O) on the Read Out Integrated Circuit (ROIC).
A reprogrammable digital transponder architecture allows a common product design to be scaled to meet varying user capacity requirements, match the transponder to the spacecraft resources, and maximize affordability by minimizing non-recurring costs. On-orbit frequency programmability permits the design and hardware development to proceed in parallel with the frequency coordination process, reducing schedule risks and providing operational flexibility. Leverage of digital processing technologies achieves improved channel performance characteristics compared with traditional implementations while also allowing channel characteristics such as selectivity, adjacent channel rejection, and channel frequency plans to be altered in response to the on-orbit interference environment. Channel passband shapes can also be altered for higher capacity waveforms that require different passband shapes or that need improved phase linearity over wider passbands than legacy waveforms. The ability to change these parameters on-orbit in response to upgraded ground terminal technology made possible by software-based radios will allow extended mission life without compromising communications capabilities. An ultra-high frequency (UHF) transponder with a scalable, expandable (or contractible) modular architecture, on-orbit frequency selection over entire communications bands, and functional reprogrammability through digital signal processing capabilities is described.