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COTS for Space – an ADI perspective

Jim Ryan

Analog Devices Inc


For over 50 years Analog Devices has been at the forefront of innovation for Aerospace and Defense applications. ADI’s commitment to performance, reliability and sustainability has made ADI a preferred supplier to the US and foreign Aerospace and defense agencies.

Today ADI not only offers the Space Heritage of 50 years of engagement and innovation in the Aerospace industry but now combines this with the Space offerings from both Hittite Microwave and Linear Technology under a single Analog Devices brand.

Over the past 50 years the Space Industry has seen tremendous change, but it is in the past 5-10 years that it has seen its most significant rate of change – change which requires IC suppliers like ADI to innovate and develop solutions for a new industry landscape.

The electronic content of satellites is expanding exponentially in both traditional GEO satellite signal processing applications as well as LEO small satellite constellations that will provide internet access from any point on the planet.  These new ambitious design solutions require reduced size, weight, power and cost. The benefits of using Plastic Encapsulated Microcircuits (PEMs) or Commercial-Off-The-Shelf devices (COTS) in space level applications are attractive: advanced technologies, higher levels of integration, higher performance, better size, weight, and power specifications.  Design engineers in the space industry are tasked with using risk analysis to reduce cost while increasing performance and maintaining system reliability. A given device might be suitable for use in space, but not in all space level applications. The components selected must meet the specific mission requirements. The challenge today is how to implement COTS methodology in space level applications.  The goal is to reach an acceptable level of reliability, within the technical, commercial, and financial constraints of the mission. Unfortunately, depending on the specific mission requirements, there are an endless number of possibilities for screening and quality conformance inspections.

This paper addresses the many challenges faced in flying PEM components in space and gives ADI’s perspective on and its approach to balancing the needs of the emerging new space opportunities with the need for appropriate space level quality and assurance. It will outline ADI’s recently announced Commercial Space offering, its three constituent tiers (CSL – Commercial Space Light, CSM – Commercial Space Medium and CSH – Commercial Space High) and the features of each.