High-Temperature, Lightweight, Rad-Hard Silicon Carbide (SiC) DC/DC Converters for Missile Defense Satellite Power Management and Distribution Systems

Period of Performance: 02/28/2007 - 08/28/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Arkansas Power Electronics International
535 W. Research Center Blvd., Suite 209
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Principal Investigator


Power electronic converters are essential in every MDA vehicle, with use in critical systems ranging from electric power management applications, to power distribution, to on-board servo motor/actuator drivers. Advancing state-of-the-art power electronics technologies through the use of SiC semiconductors will produce significant savings across the board in almost all areas of MDA power management and distribution operations. By utilizing the high efficiency and high temperature potential of SiC power switches, future power electronics systems will be reduced in size and weight by a factor of ten over today s state-of-the-art converters. In particular, this proposal seeks to develop step down DC/DC power converters for 28V dc bus MDA satellite power management and distribution systems. This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project seeks to develop highly efficient lightweight DC/DC power converters with an order of magnitude size reduction utilizing now emerging silicon-carbide (SiC) power switching technologies. Increasing power density and efficiency, reducing size and weight, and improving modularity of electronics are all goals of the MDA program. Reduction in size and weight means dollar savings in cost to launch and greater capacity for on-board payload systems. In particular, in Phase I APEI, Inc. will develop a 1kW SiC 300V-28V step down DC/DC converter for power management systems in missile defense satellites and kinetic kill vehicles. Phase II of the project will be focused on increasing power capabilities (10kW+) of the converters, control and protection functionality, and investigating radiation hardening of the SiC-based system.