image: montage of Space Science and Engineering: Spacecraft Avionics

Enabling Next Generation NanoSat, MicroSat, and Small Satellite Missions

image: SwRI’s PPT solutions are available in a variety of form factors for inclusion in avionics suites or as stand-alone systems

SwRI’s peak power tracking solutions are available in a variety of form factors for inclusion in avionics suites or as stand-alone systems.


image: SwRI PPT is an enabling technology featured as part of the NASA CYGNSS constellation

SwRI peak power tracking is an enabling technology featured as part of the NASA CYGNSS constellation.

Southwest Research Institute is a recognized leader in providing high reliability spacecraft avionics for diverse mission applications ranging from low cost, responsive small and micro-satellite platforms to long duration deep-space systems.

Spacecraft electrical power system (EPS) expertise forms a core element of SwRI’s spacecraft avionics capabilities. These capabilities include battery management, direct energy transfer (DET) power systems and peak power tracking (PPT). For small spacecraft, peak power tracking is an enabling technology that maximizes spacecraft solar array performance providing enhanced spacecraft performance and capability. Additionally, the increased power conversion efficiency and power extraction performance of peak power tracking reduces solar array area and mass.

The SwRI peak power tracking extracts the maximum power from the solar array in a non-dissipative manner. Unlike direct energy transfer, where excess power is dissipated as heat, peak power tracking losses are due to conversion efficiency only. Maximum power transfer is achieved by matching the variable output conductance of the solar array with the variable input conductance of the spacecraft power converter.

Scalable, Configurable Peak Power Tracker Solutions

  • Scalable peak power tracking architectures support spacecraft electrical power needs from 50 to 1,500 watts
  • Up to 3 solar array inputs (up to 95V, 3A each)
  • Power conversion efficiencies of greater than 93%
  • Precision global peak detect algorithm with error performance of less than 2% RMS
  • On-orbit configuration including:
    • Battery parameters
    • peak power tracking modes
    • Global peak detect algorithm
  • Integrated controller for peak power tracking control algorithm, data collection and serial interface logic
  • Charge only direct-energy-transfer mode
  • “Wake from the dead” capability
  • Input EMI filtering

Related Technology

space applications •  spacecraft technology •  space avionics •  advanced spacecraft avionics •  payload processing solutions •  high-speed digital data manipulation •  management •  algorithm development •  applied mathematics •  advanced computing solutions

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Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.
07/31/14