ERZIA COTS amplifier goes to space inside NASA’s Cubesat

The traditional approach to delivering hardware to be installed in satellites and space probes is driven by extensive design, analysis, and testing phases, with long-term delivery times and budgets, which can be tens or hundreds of times bigger than their equivalent for commercial and terrestrial applications. These extensive deliveries and larger budgets are justified by the expectation of the hardware to survive and operate in the extremes of the space environment, without any possibility of reparation or replacement.

Today, a different approach is gaining more relevance. New technologies and concepts applied to rocket and satellite systems are becoming standardized and evolving very fast. Technologies like CubeSats, NanoSats, MicroSats, and reusable launchers are making the access to space cheaper and easier for applications that 10 years ago would be impossible to even imagine. An example of this application is NASA’s CubeRTT mission, which implements a complete radiometer with on-board data processing to demonstrate the Radio Frequency Interference mitigation in space.

In this context of new space missions and technologies, a new approach to RF and microwave hardware and component selection is also gaining traction. A smart selection of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) devices is reducing costs and times significatively while giving the designer a wide range of options to choose from, instead of being limited to the “space qualified” items. NASA selected for its CubeRTT mission a COTS amplifier from ERZIA, with only a small modification on the DC section. As a result, some units of the amplifier ERZ-LNA-0100-4000-45-5 were purchased, manufactured, and delivered in a few weeks, integrated on the satellite, and successfully operated the 1-year mission timeframe.

ERZIA’s proposal for a “New-Space” approach is based on the availability of 170+ COTS amplifiers, which are already rated to withstand severe environmental conditions such as (shock, vibration, and temperature.) They can be used “as-is”, or with small modifications, that can prepare them to better perform in the space environment, including taking into account the radiation climate. ERZIA’s extensive experience in traditional space programs requiring full qualification processes allows us to quickly asses the best approach for the use of our COTS in space.

If you have any question or want to evaluate the possible use of our RF and microwave COTS amplifiers in your mission, please contact us:

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To learn more about the CubeRTT mission:

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Image courtesy of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), All rights reserved