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Selection and Analysis of COTS power management devices under radiation

Christophe Boucheron



In modern commercial satellite applications, cost pressures are increasing in a way that historically have not been so challenging. This push is led by the large constellations that are being developed to provide broadband access globally. Since many of these constellations number in the hundreds or thousands of satellites, the cost of an individual satellite must be a fraction of the cost of previous generations. Additionally, the mission life is shorter and the orbit is lower, oftentimes on par with the International Space Station.

One way to reduce the cost of satellites is by reducing the cost of the EEE components. This can be done by the use of COTS components. These components offer a very attractive model. The devices are readily available and can be procured for a fraction of the cost of QMLV type devices. However, this lower cost comes at a risk. Oftentimes, commercial parts are sourced from multiple foundries with no traceability back to an individual fab location. In addition, many of these components have not been designed for the harsh radiation environment of space. While this can potentially be mitigated in many areas of the satellite, power delivery systems remains a critical portion of the satellite infrastructure.

This paper presents a survey of a number of commercial devices that have been tested for radiation, both Total Ionizing Dose and Single Event Effects. The results presented here will show that choosing power management devices that are intended to operate in a high radiation environment can be challenging. Renesas will also outline how it can serve the power management market with lower cost, radiation characterized devices that are ideal for New Space applications. These devices bridge the challenges of providing higher reliability and radiation assurance, while still being sensitive to the costs of small satellites and large constellations.