Answering your Questions about Power Design  

DC-DC Converters for Space Applications

This section presents information and resources to help designers select and evaluate rad hard dc-dc converters for space applications such as satellites and spacecraft. This section covers both fully functional dc-dc converter modules as well as power ICs. Resources for designing rad hard dc-dc converters are also referenced here.

Where to find dc-dc converters and related power ICs for space applications

A source list of manufacturers offering rad hard dc-dc converter modules, voltage regulators, and related power ICs with details about what they offer. View this manufacturers list.

IntersilIR HiRelVPTTexas Instrument
Images above courtesy of Intersil, IR HiRel, VPT and Texas Instruments.

News about rad hard dc-dc converter and related products

GaN in Space
In this article in PSD magazine, Steve Taranovich discusses the use of GaN power devices, mainly those from Freebird Semiconductor in power systems for space applications. Before discussing the power performance capabilities and rad hard characteristics of the GaN power transistors and the topologies in which they are used, the article points out the opportunities for GaN devices by describing the different components of space power systems (energy sources and storage, power distribution architectures, and power converters) and power specs for satellites and spacecraft including examples from existing and planned programs. Read the article»
NSREC 2019: Rad Hard Power IC Portfolios Add New Functions And Higher Performance Options
News story in HOW2POWER TODAY highlights the rad hard and rad tolerant power components demonstrated at the recent NSREC 2019 conference in San Antonio, Texas. These includes load switches, GaN power modules and IP blocks for power supply ASICs plus power converter reference designs and power converter modules. Read the article»
Injector Supports PSRR Testing For Military And Satellite Buses
News story in HOW2POWER TODAY announces Picotest’s J2121A injector, which supports power supply rejection ratio testing. The injector is especially suited to high-power applications including military and satellite bus voltages up to 400 V/20 A with a bandwidth up to 1 MHz. Read the article»
Rad Hard Current Sources For Sensing Subystems In Satellites
News story in HOW2POWER TODAY announces Renesas Electronics’ ISL70591SEH and ISL70592SEH radiation-hardened precision current sources, which are designed to provide current excitation to the more than 300 resistive sensors that monitor the health of a satellite’s subsystems. Read the article»

Vendors Fired Up Latest Rad Hard Power Solutions At NSREC 2018
News story in HOW2POWER TODAY highlights the power components demonstrated at the recent NSREC 2018 conference in Kona, Hawaii. These included the latest power converter modules, power semiconductors, ICs and reference designs for implementing reliable power systems in satellites and other spacecraft. Read the article»
Rad Hard POLs Feature Tight Regulation For Digital Processing Applications
News story in HOW2POWER TODAY describes the SVPL series of space-qualified point-of-load dc-dc converters (POLs). These converters are designed specifically for space applications facing harsh radiation environments while requiring low voltages and tight regulation for high-performance processors. Read the article»
Rad-Tolerant GaN FETs And Fast Half-Bridge Driver Target Satellites
Press release announces Teledyne e2v’s launch of a GaN power solution consisting of GaN FETs from GaN Systems and what’s called “the industry’s first rad-tolerant, half-bridge power driver for GaN high-reliability applications” from PSemi. This introduction continues the recent string of announcements about GaN power semiconductors for space applications. (See the NSREC news and other articles in this section.) Read the article»
Rad-Hard GaN Devices Propel Space Power Supplies To Higher Performance
News story in HOW2POWER TODAY describes Renesas Electronics’ (formerly Intersil) ISL70040SEH low-side GaN FET driver, ISL7023SEH 100-V GaN FET and ISL70024SEH 200-V GaN FET, which were being introduced as the space industry’s first radiation-hardened, low-side GaN FET driver and GaN FETs for launch vehicles and satellite power supplies. Read the article»
Power Supply Sequencers Are Rad Hard
Press release announces the ISL70321SEH and ISL73321SEH quad power supply sequencers for point-of load (POL) regulators that power high-performance FPGAs and complex, multi-rail power systems. When the company previewed these chips at NSREC 2017, it described them as the industry’s first radiation-hardened power supply sequencer ICs. (See “More Power News From NSREC 2017” below on this page.) Read the article»
Rad-Tolerant Plastic ICs Support Small Satellite Mega-Constellations
Press release announces a rad-tolerant plastic IC package and the first three parts introduced in this package. These parts include the ISL71001M 6A point-of-load regulator and two non-power components, a 3.3-V CAN transceiver and a 40-V quad precision op amp. Intersil has a long history in providing rad hard components, so the introduction of the less stringent rad tolerant devices in plastic packaging represents a new approach for them in addressing the cost-sensitive small satellites market. Read the article»
NSREC 2017 Highlights Latest Rad Hard Power Components For Space
This is How2Power’s preview of the power parts that will be shown at the NSREC 2017 conference in New Orleans. It includes rad hard (or rad tolerant) power supply ICs and modules for space applications, including a soon-to-be-released GaN FET Driver with GaN FET and other GaN transistors. Read the article»
More Power News From NSREC 2017
This is How2Power’s post-conference report on the NSREC 2017 expo, providing news on more of the rad-hard or rad-tolerant dc-dc converters, point-of-load converters (POLs), LDOs, power MOSFETs and other components that were shown at NSREC 2017. It includes news of a rad-hard power sequencing IC, which may be the first of its kind. Read the article»
DC-DC Converter supports 42-V and 50-V power busses
Press release introduces Crane Aerospace & Electronics’ SMHF42 rad tolerant 15-W isolated dc-dc converter family, which supports operation from 42-V and 50-V buses with its input range of 35 V to 55 V with 80-V transient protection." and the link is
Development of Radiation Hardened Gallium Nitride Power Conversion Systems for Satellite and Harsh Environment Applications
Press release announcing partnership between Freebird Semiconductor and Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) wherein Freebird will develop products for use in high reliability space and harsh environment applications based upon eGaN power transistors and integrated circuits. Read the article»
40-W Radiation-Hardened 120-V Input DC-DC Converters For Satellite Power Systems
Press release for IR Hi Rel’s  M3G120 Series of 40W rad-hard dc-dc converters for a wide range of digital and analog satellite power systems requiring up to 15 years or more of mission life. Read the article»
High-Rel Dual-Output DC-DC Converters Target Satellite Power Systems
News story in HOW2POWER TODAY described International Rectifier’s D Series of low-power radiation-tolerant two-output dc-dc converters. Read the article»
Rad-Hard Power Converters Ride Intermediate Bus Into Space
This feature from HOW2POWER TODAY describes the rad-hard dc-dc converters and point-of-load converters (POLs) for space that were introduced at the 2012 NSREC conference. While this story is a few years old, keep in mind that products developed for this market have long life cycles. Read the article»
Motor Drives

Find articles on designing power converters for:

Other space power resources:

Extensive Reference Explores Every Aspect Of Space Power

Spacecraft Power Systems, Mukund R. Patel, CRC Press, 2005, 691 pages, hardback; ISBN 0-8493-2786-5.
Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

This book is intended for those in power electronics interested in spacecraft power systems. While this is not a new publication, references such as this are somewhat rare and the concepts discussed are ones that have been developed over decades of spacecraft development. So this book remains relevant and informative. For those power system developers working in other fields and unfamiliar with space requirements, this book may be an eye opener as it sheds light on a set of environmental challenges that are literally and figuratively, out of this world. Read the full story…

Space Related Conferences and Trade Shows

Industry events where you can learn more about rad hard dc-dc converters, power ICs and related components.


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Organizations conducting research
in space electronics

Aerospace Corporation
The Aerospace Corporation’s conducts fundamental research and development for “advanced military and civilian space systems”. Its Physical Science Laboratories (PSL) consist of “more than 80 specialized laboratories” organized within three areas--Electronics and Photonics Laboratory (EPL), the Space Materials Laboratory (SML), and the Space Science Applications Laboratory (SSAL). “EPL focuses on areas of electronics and photonics directed towards development of new capabilities for space systems, as well as ensuring that new and existing systems reliably deliver 100% mission success in the rigors of the space environment.” Areas of interest for this group include “Advanced Electronic Device Technology, Space Radiation Effects on Microelectronics, Microelectronic Reliability and Physics of Failure, and Micro/Nano Analysis for Components and Material.” Visit the Website»
Jet Propulsion Laboratory—Component Engineering & Assurance Office
JPL Section 514—Component Engineering & Assurance Office “provides selection, evaluation, and acquisition of reliable electronic parts for JPL Missions.  The Section develops, implements, and manages Electronic Parts Program Requirements and Plans for JPL Projects and Instruments. Section 514 supports designers in part selection and conducts review of part lists for compatibility with the intended space environment and mission life, provides acquisition of electronic parts, communicates with vendors to resolve issues and obtain parts on schedule, conducts radiation tests and provide characterization and analysis services” and more. Visit the Website»
NASA Radiation Effects and Analysis Group
Based at Goddard Space Flight Center, the REAG “performs testing & analysis investigating the effects of radiation on electronics & photonics.” Their home page targets “electronics designers, project managers, parts engineers, other radiation groups, and anyone with an interest….Testing has been performed on just about anything in the realm of electronics & photonics.” The site provides “a searchable list of devices that have been tested” as well as a test reports on these devices.  Visit the Website»
NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at BNL
In support of future missions to the moon and Mars, NASA has partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to create the NSRL where “scientists use beams of ions to simulate cosmic rays and assess the risks of space radiation to human space travelers and equipment.” An extension of Brookhaven National Laboratory’s particle accelerator facilities, this lab makes use of BNL’s Booster accelerator, which is described as “the only facility in the U.S. that can produce high energy heavy ions to closely mimic the space radiation environment.” Visit the Website»
Vanderbilt’s Institute for Space and Defense Electronics
Vanderbilt University’s Radiation Effects and Reliability Group (RERG) is described as “the only academic program directly involved in supporting the [U.S.] Department of Defense in radiation effects for strategic applications, and one of a very few programs involved in microelectronics research for space applications.” An extension of the RERG, the Institute for Space and Defense Electronics (ISDE) was created to serve governmental and commercial customers. ISDE uses its expertise in radiation effects “to meet customer microelectronics reliability needs through circuit modeling, analysis, and design.” Visit the Website»

Recent Space-Related Features In How2Power Today

Integrated Current Limiter Eases Power Protection In High-Voltage Space Applications
by Salvo Pappalardo, STMicroelectronics, Milan, Italy and Ignazio Mirabella, STMicroelectronics, Catania, Italy

How To Drive Rad Hard E-Mode GaN Transistors Efficiently And Safely
by Tony Marini and Jim Larrauri, Freebird Semiconductor, Haverhill, Mass.

Base Metal Electrodes Reduce Size And Weight Of MLCCs In Satellites
by John Marshall, AVX, Coleraine, United Kingdom and Ron Demcko, AVX, Fountain Inn, S.C.

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