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Center Innovation Fund: GRC CIF

Portable Equipment Panel Development for Modular Power Architectures

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Portable Equipment Panel Development for Modular Power Architectures
Modular systems are inherently inefficient with respect to their function, as their composition is limited to discrete modules of a fixed size. These modules carry a certain amount of overhead (such as packaging) that further stray from a mass- or volume-optimal design. However, the long-term benefits of a modular system greatly outweigh the ese short-term costs. Commonality, flexibility, scalability, interoperability, supportability, and availability are all attributes that give modular systems the advantage in mission-critical applications. Therefore, it is prudent to select a modular architecture for deep-space power systems. The Portable Equipment Panel (PEP) was developed to address the need for a universal voltage adapter for low-voltage portable equipment. Currently on this ISS, each piece of equipment has its own, bulky “watermelon” voltage adapters, which are specific to that piece of equipment. The function of the PEP removes the need to develop and qualify different voltage adapters by providing the appropriate voltage to the equipment automatically when the connector is mated. PEP prototypes were successfully tested, and the concept was slated to be installed on the Orion vehicle, but funding cuts prevented further development. The Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Modular Power Systems (AMPS) project is developing standards to describe modular space power system architectures and components. To determine reasonable requirements for these standards, prototype power distribution components were developed, including point-of-load switchgear, bus switchgear, housekeeping, bi-directional DC/DC converter, and controller (data/networking) modules. The addition of a module with the functions of a PEP would greatly enhance the fidelity of the standard and improve its efficacy. The goal is to develop and demonstrate functions of the PEP in a modular form factor, compatible with the AMPS [draft] standard. More »

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