NASA's Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) provides "nuclear battery" electricity and heat to enable spacecraft to scientific missions beyond the capabilities of solar power, chemical batteries and fuel cells. RPS, as well as other NASA Earth Independent programs, has a need for Power Management and Distribution (PMAD) technologies with intelligent power management and fault-tolerant electrical components to operate efficiently and survive in such hostile environments. Other anticipated NASA missions for science and exploration of the universe are expected to challenge current power management specifications. Alphacore's DC-DC converter can aid in supporting infrastructure that accommodates the ever-growing power requirements for NASA's science and exploration missions. Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) - scheduled launch mid 2020's - has critical power needs. Other Earth-observing missions planned for 2021 and later are expected to have increased power management demands, including ECOSTRESS, GeoCARB, HyspIRI, MAII, InSAR, NISAR, Pre-ACE, TEMPO, and TROPICS, and are thus excellent potential applications for the technology from this program. Other applications include solar system exploration missions such as Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Solar Probe Plus missions.
This rad-hard DC-DC converter has applications in high-energy physics particle detection, nuclear weapon proliferation monitoring bio-threat detection and Space-based sensors, and medical imaging technologies. Alphacore has interest in this technology from developers of Time-of-Flight (ToF) Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner and other MRI equipment developers, e.g., Siemens Healthcare, Mediso, NuCare Medical Systems, and MD Anderson Cancer Center. This IC improves available technologies in Space exploration and Earth orbiting satellites, such as the military/intelligence satellites. Boeing and Cobham provide support for this work. Other large defense, aerospace, and unmanned systems companies have radiation hard power management concerns. Alphacore has been in contact with Raytheon, ViaSat, Ball Aerospace, Orbital ATK, L-3 Communications, United Technologies, SSL (Space Systems), Loral, General Dynamics, Sierra Nevada Space Systems, and Dynetics Space Systems. Commercial LEO and GEO telecommunication satellites, such as Intelsat, Direct TV, XM radio, Orbcomm and Iridium can also benefit. Cobham is a particularly good fit for this technology because they are both systems integrators and IC vendors, and their current portfolio already includes rad-hard DC-DC converters. Cobham is extremely interested in this program, as seen in their attached letter of support. Other companies like DDC, Microsemi, and Intersil also develop and sell components of this type.