An example immediate benefit of the space hardened high voltage parts with voltage ratings >300 V is that they would enable next generation high-power electric propulsion systems beyond their current limit of 5 kW. Use of a wide bandgap semiconductor such as silicon carbide would also increase their efficiency beyond that is currently achieved in these systems, which is >92%. Silicon carbide as being the most mature among the wide bandgap semiconductors in terms of fabrication and processing offers an enabling technology for meeting the NASA technology roadmap goals and milestones. The silicon on-resistance versus radiation hardening penalty renders the silicon option not beneficial for conversion efficiencies. Of particular importance is to meet the capability performance goals in the NASA technology roadmap. Improving the radiation tolerance of SiC devices would benefit the Orion spacecraft project in terms of power, advanced space power systems in terms of mass, and high-temperature boost power processing units and the Venus Mobile Explorer in terms of extreme environment capabilities. Additionally, this would benefit missions such as Io Observer, Saturn probe and Europa, and Design Reference Missions (DRMs) 5 to 9. Specifically mass savings are tremendous: A possible use of 300 V solar arrays instead of the 120 V option for solar electric propulsion would decrease the payload by approximately 2.5 tons with larger voltage operation resulting in further weight cuts.
Government and Military: As in the case of NASA applications, the same weight reduction and efficiency gains hold for the government and military spacecrafts, and therefore we expect the outcomes of this proposal benefit the larger community in general. Private Sector: As NASA is looking forward to contracting out some of the future space missions to companies such as SpaceX, these companies are looking forward to finding ways to reduce costs while maintaining reliability and safety. The proposed work would benefit these companies in terms of cost savings tremendously. Production and Commercialization: The space radiation hard components industry is a few hundred million dollar market mostly dominated by companies such as International Rectifier (now part of Infineon). It is our aim not only to provide alternatives to these companies but also provide alternative semiconductor solutions such as silicon carbide based devices.