CAES introduced the industry’s first single-stage, isolated DC-DC converters for high throughput satellite payloads. The devices provide spacecraft designers with the industry’s most efficient power conversion modules for enabling reprogrammable, software-defined payloads.

Compared to conventional two-stage DC-DC converters, the CAES single-stage converters increase power efficiency from approximately 80 percent to more than 90 percent while simultaneously reducing size, weight and power requirements in space applications.

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The 28 V radiation-tolerant converters are also the first satellite single-stage power supplies to incorporate GaN FET technology. These GaN-based converters provide customers with a fully-tested, off-the-shelf power conversion solution. The move to GaN enables higher performance and switching frequencies, thereby improving response time to changing load currents compared to silicon-based DC-DC converters. These latest converters 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. “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 latest single-stage converters operate easily within the increasingly stringent voltage tolerances of today’s leading-edge processing devices. 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. 

The latest CAES converters comply with U.S. Department of Commerce Export Administration Regulations (EAR99) and are commercially available worldwide. 

Designed for aerospace and high-reliability space applications, the latest 28 V SCD51028xx converters have a total dose radiation tolerance of 50 krads (Si) and are available in a (2.5 x 1.5 x 0.63 in.) gull-winged power package that enables surface-mount installation and a low-impedance interconnect with the system board. The converters feature a lightweight 50 g design and an operating temperature of -40ºC to +125ºC.