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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 Renesas, IR HiRel, VPT and Texas Instruments.

News about rad hard dc-dc converter and related products

Rad-Hard Plastic Portfolio For MEO And GEO Satellites
Renesas Electronics’ new line of plastic-packaged rad-hard devices for satellite power management systems include the ISL71001SLHM/SEHM buck regulator, ISL71610SLHM and ISL71710SLHM digital isolators, and the ISL73033SLHM 100-V GaN FET and low-side driver. Read the article»
GaN Transistors And ICs Target Power Supplies, LiDAR And Motor Drives
EPC’s EPC7014, a 60-V, 340-mΩ, 4-APulsed, rad-hard eGaN FET in a tiny 0.81-mm2 footprint is the first member of a new family of rad-hard eGaN transistors and ICs for demanding space applications. Read the article»
Power Supply Takes Flight on Mars
Astrodyne TDI’s Sr. director of engineering, Loay Elbasyouni has designed the first power supply to fly on Mars, as part of Ingenuity, NASA-JPL’s Mars Helicopter. Read the article»

NSREC Notes: Space Power Components Answer Calls For Higher Performance, Lower Cost
Article in How2Power Today presents news of rad hard and rad tolerant power components shared at the virtual NSREC 2020, including plastic-packaged parts, a higher-performance PWM controller, smart power switch controllers and point-of-load converters. Read the article»
Rad-Hard ICs Onboard Spacecraft That Returned Asteroid Samples
A press releases announces that Renesas’ rad-hard ICs were onboard the Hayabusa2 spacecraft that returned asteroid samples to Earth on December 6, 2020. Read the article»
RADECS Call For Papers Is Now Open
The call for papers is now open for the RADECS 2021 conference on radiation and its effects on components and systems, which will be held September 13-17 in Vienna, Austria. Read the article»
Satellites Use Radiation-Tolerant Power Modules With High Power Density
A press release announces Vicor’s first radiation-tolerant dc-dc power modules, which were designed for deployment in the Boeing-manufactured O3b mPOWER satellite. Read the article»
Conference Focuses On Safety And Sustainability In Space
The theme of the next RADECS conference, which is to be held Sept. 13-17, 2021 in Vienna, will be “Committed to Safety and Sustainability in Space”, with a view to future space missions and applications, and the use of space for the entire global community. The call for papers is now posted. Read the article»
Space-Grade Point-Of-Load Converters Are Sampling
News story in HOW2POWER TODAY announces the availability of engineering samples for VPT’s space-grade SVRPL3R306SG point-of-load converter. Read the article»
Rad hard MOSFETs And DC-DC Converter Receive Honors
According to IR HiRel, the company’s SupIR-SMD rad hard MOSFET packaging and M3GB 120-V input hybrid dc-dc converter were recognized as Silver honorees by the 2020 Military & Aerospace Electronics Innovators Awards program. Read the article»
SEE Symposium And MAPLD Workshop Will Be Virtual in October
The 2020 Single-Event Effects (SEE) Symposium and Military and Aerospace Programmable Logic Devices (MAPLD) Workshop will be held virtually, October 6-8. It will include pre-recorded oral presentations, tutorials, panel session, live Q&A, posters, networking events, and an industrial exhibit. Read the article»
Supplier Of GaN Power Devices Appoints Distributor For Defense And Aerospace Market
A press release from EPC Space announces the appointment of Spirit Electronics, which supplies products and services to the Department of Defense, aerospace, and telecommunication industries, as a distribution partner. Read the article»
Kit Speeds Design Of Rad Hard Power ICs
News story in HOW2POWER TODAY introduces Apogee Semiconductor’s TalRad Process Design Kit, which enables rapid creation of rad-hard IC designs in TSI’s 180-nm CMOS high-voltage silicon process. Read the article»
Mars Rover Blasts Off With Many Of This Vendor’s ICs
Renesas Electronics has announced that more than 20 of its rad-hard ICs were onboard the July 30 lift off of NASA"s Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover. Read the article»

DC-DC Converters and EMI Filters Power Mars Rover
A press release from VPT highlights its rad hard power modules and filters aboard NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover where they power the camera system and onboard processing. Read the article»
NSREC Goes Virtual
The IEEE Nuclear & Space Radiation Effects Conference (NSREC), which had been postponed from July to December 2020, is transitioning to a virtual event. Read the article»
A Better Package For Rad Hard MOSFETs
News story in HOW2POWER TODAY announces that Infineon has introduced 14 newly QPL-qualified rad hard MOSFETs housed in an innovative direct-to-PCB mounting package called the SupIR-SMD. Read the article»
GaN And Hi-Rel Power Specialists Form Joint Venture Targeting Rad Hard Power Electronics Market
A press release announced a joint venture by Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) and VPT, dubbed EPC Space, which will provide advanced, high-reliability, power conversion solutions for critical spaceborne environments in applications including power supplies, lidar, motor drive, and ion thrusters. Read the article»
Acquisition Expands Company’s Support Of Commercial Space Industry
A press release from Radiation Test Solutions announces that the company has reached an agreement with Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions to purchase Cobham RAD, a provider of MIL-STD radiation effects test services, heavy ion SEE testing, device preparation service prior to test, device screening and element evaluation, and quick turn prototype integrated circuit assembly. Read the article»
Rad-Hard Rectifiers Boosts Efficiency in Space Applications
A press release from STMicroelectronics announces that the company has extended its portfolio of radiation-hardened power devices qualified for space applications by introducing new ESCC-qualified 200-V and 400-V power rectifiers and SEB -immune Schottky rectifiers. Read the article»
NSREC 2020 Moves To December
From HOW2POWER TODAY, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference (NSREC 2020), which was originally to be held in July, has been rescheduled to December 1-4, 2020. The Hilton Buffalo Thunder in Santa Fe, New Mexico remains the venue. Read the article»
Programmable Integrated Current Limiter Is Space-Qualified
A press release from STMicroelectronics, announces the RHRPMICL1A, a single-chip, rad-hard, programmable integrated current limiter that prevents power surges and overloads from damaging electronic equipment operated in space. Read the article»
Rad Hard Regulator Integrates Synchronous Buck And LDO For Satellites
News story in HOW2POWER TODAY announces Renesas Electronics’s ISL70005SEH, which is described as the industry’s first single-chip synchronous buck and low dropout (LDO) regulator targeting low-power FPGAs, DDR memory and other digital loads for spaceflight payload applications. Read the article»

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 http://news.craneae.com/new-interpoint-smhf42-series-space-dc-dc-converter
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»

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.

Cobham

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

Predicting Mission Life Performance And Reliability Of Rad-Hard Power Electronics
by Peter Lee, International Rectifier HiRel Products (IR HiRel), an Infineon Technologies company, San Jose, Calif.

Rad Hard MOSFETs Enable Easy Upgrade Of Flight-Proven DC-DC Converter
by Andrew Popp and Bjarne Soderberg, International Rectifier HiRel Products (IR HiRel), an Infineon Technologies Company, El Segundo, Calif.

The Power Supply Designer’s Guide To Radiation Effects in Power Semiconductors
by Paul L. Schimel, Microchip Technology, Chicago, Ill.

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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