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This article discussed an oft forgotten or little-noticed part of the spacecraft enabling travel into outer space---power management in the space vehicle. Wide bandgap semiconductors like gallium nitride (GaN), silicon carbide (SiC), as well as diamond, are looking to be the most promising materials for future electronic components since the discovery of silicon. These technologies, depending upon their design, offer huge advantages in terms of power capability (DC and microwave), radiation insensitivity, high temperature and high frequency operation, optical properties and even low noise capability. Therefore, wide bandgap components are strategically important for the development of next generation space-borne systems. eGaN devices are quickly gaining momentum in the space industry and we will see many more applications for them by NASA and commercial contractors in future programs like Artemis and other programs in countries around the globe pursuing efforts into Space.
Power Systems Design
Two space travel related stories hit my desktop this week; one that rapidly generated major international headlines and one that slid very quietly onto my email screen.
The headline-hitter was the successful launch of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket with its payload of a Tesla sports car, complete with a dummy driver at the wheel. The second was about Gallium Nitride technology that would be suitable for space applications.
Freebird Semiconductor and Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) have entered into an agreement whereby Freebird will develop products for use in high reliability space and harsh environment applications based upon eGaN® power transistors and integrated circuits.
NORTH ANDOVER, MA. — April 2016 — Freebird Semiconductor Corporation, North Andover, Massachusetts announces the signing of an agreement with Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (EPC), the leading provider of enhancement-mode gallium nitride power transistors to develop products for use in high reliability, space, and harsh environment applications based upon EPC’s eGaN® technology.