Space-rated drive electronics

MACCON supplies motor power and control electronics for space programs. These are designed
and built to customer specification. However all new designs are based on established technology,
which has been successfully implemented on previous space programs – see features and
examples below. Please download the brochure on the top right-hand side for more information about the electronics which we designed for projects such as BIOLAB and MHS (microwave humidity scanner).

Our offering:

• Motor power stages
• Digital controllers
• Control of current, velocity, and position
• Support of position feedback devices
• Support of host command interfaces
• Customized software applications
• Full In-house design, analysis, test and qualification by MACCON

Challenges for space-rated drive electronics

  • Radiation effects: Total ionizing dose (TID), single event effects (SEE), material ageing.
  • Vaccum effects: Heat dissipation in a vacuum no longer possible by convection. Only conduction and radiation are available as heat-transfer methods. Vacuum also causes outgassing in materials, which could cause contamination of e.g. optical and other sensitive components. Outgassing also accelerates material ageing.
  • Thermal cycling: A satellite in low earth orbit circles the Earth many times each day. The transition from sunlit to dark areas and vice-versa results in high and sudden temperature differences. This also accelerates material ageing.
  • High reliability required: The electronics must survive at least the designed mission lifetime and on-site repairs are impossible. Therefore fault detection and correction resources must be implemented in the drive electronics. Full or partial redundancy is required. High effort in testing, quality control and documentation is required for maximum test coverage.

Contact us to discuss your requirements with an experienced MACCON engineer.

MACCON engineering and qualification services

Circuit design services
• Mechanical housing design
• Software and firmware design
• FPGA design
• Servo-system analysis & simulation
• Design analyses:
– Reliability incl. parts count, parts stress, and FMEA
– Interface
– Mechanical
– Thermal.
• In-house qualification:
– Temperature and vacuum
– Shock and vibration
– EMC etc.

Standards for space-rated electronics

Design and manufacture to ESA standards:
• Extensive control and interface functions possible
• Designs to minimize mass and energy requirements
• Redundancy by duplication of motor, feedback, control and power channels
• Operating voltages typically 3.3 to 28 V