CAES has claimed the industry’s first single-stage, isolated DC-DC converters for high-throughput satellite payloads. These single-stage converters, compared to traditional two-stage DC/DC converters, increase power efficiency from approximately 80% to more than 90%, while simultaneously reducing size, weight, and power requirements, said the company.
Designed for aerospace and high-reliability space applications, the 28-V SCD51028xx converters offer a total dose radiation tolerance of 50 krads (Si). The converters weigh 50 g and are available in a (2.5L × 1.5W × 0.63H inches) gull-winged power package that enables surface-mount installation and a low-impedance interconnect with the system board. The operating temperature is -40°C to 125°C.
The 28-V radiation-tolerant converters are reportedly the first satellite single-stage power supplies to incorporate gallium-nitride (GaN) FET technology. The GaN-based devices enable higher performance and switching frequencies, which is said to improve response time to changing load currents compared to silicon-based DC/DC converters. They can also be used in parallel for higher-power applications.
“Two-stage power switches require two converters, making them bigger and more expensive. They are also inherently lower performing in that their power efficiency degrades with each conversion stage,” said Mike Elias, senior vice president and general manager, Space Systems Division, CAES, in a statement. “Our single-stage converters deliver the industry’s most efficient bus-to-load output while opening the door further for GaN in space applications.”
By converting power straight from the power bus to the point of load, the single-stage converters operate within the Voltage tolerances of leading-edge processing devices, said CAES. This includes deep-submicron ASICs and FPGAs used in software-defined payloads that can be reprogrammed in-orbit to extend the mission life of space applications, added the company.
The GaN-based converters comply with U.S. Department of Commerce Export Administration Regulations (EAR99) and are commercially available worldwide. The devices provide fully-tested, off-the-shelf power conversion solutions.