UltraCMOS®-based power management card
Peregrine Semiconductor Corp.
San Diego, CA
858-731-9400
www.psemi.com

Selected for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s SpaceCube 2.0 Hybrid Science Data Processor, Peregrine’s UltraCMOS®-based power management solution is delivering uninterrupted high performance while meeting the radiation-hardened and extreme-temperature requirements on the International Space Station. The regulators feature integrated switches that help the design team meet its goals of delivering order-of-magnitude improvements in on-orbit computing performance over traditional flight computing systems.

The slot for the processor card is shown, featuring the UltraCMOS® power management solution. (NASA Goddard)
The SpaceCube systems are onboard science-data processors for space missions. The SpaceCube provides 10-100 times the standard onboard computing power, while lowering relative power consumption and cost. The DoD Space Test Program-Houston 4-ISS SpaceCube Experiment 2.0 marked the maiden voyage of the SpaceCube 2.0 model, which achieved a design goal of reducing the PCB card size of the previous model from 8 × 6" to 7 × 4", and increasing processing speed. The extra performance and smaller size enable SpaceCube 2.0 to support four HD cameras and the FireStation heliophysics instrumentation package, which detects and measures terrestrial gamma-ray flashes from lightning and thunderstorms.

The power management system is capable of providing up to 10A of clean power. The SpaceCube 2.0 design uses four PE99155 point-of-load (POL) power management chips to provide regulated power at multiple supply voltages for the processing elements, memory, and associated circuitry like oscillators and gigabit transceivers. All of the regulation functions were placed on a single PCB, realizing area and overall power-consumption savings over the SpaceCube 1.0 power design, which required multiple PCBs using conventional linear-regulator bricks.

The system’s design configuration tool helped improve power efficiency by 15%, allowing a simplified thermal design and wider operating temperature range for the system in orbit. In addition, the UltraCMOS technology is immune to latch-up due to cosmic ray strikes (known as single-event latch-ups, or SELs) that are common even in low-Earth orbits.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2015 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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