New Industry Products

STMicroelectronics Releases a Series of Nine Economical Radiation-Hardened ICs Aimed at New Space

March 22, 2022 by Gary Elinoff

The new units are designed to lower the total costs associated with today’s new generation of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites.

STMicroelectronics’ (ST) new series of radiation-hardened power, analog, and logic ICs are available in low-cost plastic packages. They have been engineered to allow for inexpensive volume production of small, low-cost LEO satellites targeted toward space-based broadband internet and earth observation applications. 

The first nine devices in ST’s new rad-hard series include a data converter, a voltage regulator, an LVDS transceiver, a line driver, and five logic gates. They will find use aboard satellites in systems such as power distribution, computing, telemetry star trackers, and transceivers. Per ST’s release, additional members of the series will be added in the coming months to aid manufacturers in the development of lower cost and increasingly capable LEO space vehicles.


New Space

ST is marketing its new ICs under the “New Space” moniker, a catch-all term for the increasing privatization of space-based initiatives. 

“We are in a new era of space commercialization and democratization … which radically changes the economics of conceiving, building, launching, and operating satellites,” said Marcello San Biagio, ST’s general purpose and RF division general manager. 

Previously produced in low-volume runs, San Biagio said, LEO satellites are now produced in the thousands for deployment in “large constellations” of cooperating devices.


ST's new series is aimed at lowering the cost of LEO satellite "constellations." Image used courtesy of STMicroelectronics 


ST notes that LEO satellites, owing to the less stringent needs of the LEO mission profile, usually have shorter operating lives than do geostationary earth orbit (GEO) vehicles, whose components are generally housed in hermetically sealed ceramic packages. 

As such, the company’s new LEO series components are housed in lower-cost plastic packages, with a rad-hard level reflective of the LEO environment. They feature a total ionization dose immunity of up to 50 krad(Si), high immunity to a total non-ionizing dose and a single event latch-up (SEL) immunity up to 62.5 MeV.cm²/mg.


The Leo Series Lineup

As released, the Leo series includes: 

  • LEO391O adjustable low-dropout voltage regulator 
  • LEOAD128 8-Channel, 1Msps 12-bit Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC)
  • LEOLVDSRD 400Mbps LVDS driver-receiver
  • LEOAC00 quad 2-input NAND gate
  • LEOAC14 hex inverter with Schmitt-trigger input
  • LEOA244 octal bus buffer with tri-state outputs
  • LEOAC74 dual D-type flip-flop
  • LEOAC08 quad 2-input AND gate
  • LEOAC32 quad 2 inputs OR gates


The LEO3910 Voltage Regulator 

Of particular interest to power engineers is the LEO3910 adjustable low-dropout voltage regulator. The LDO signature features include:

  • A low-dropout voltage of 0.35 V (at an output current of 400 mA) 
  • Maximum output of 2 A
  • Input voltage range of 1.23 to 9 V
  • Adjustable output voltage from 1.23 to 9 V


Typical applicable circuit (draft). Image used courtesy of STMicroelectronics


  • The output voltage is determined by the resistor network formed by R1 and R2, as illustrated in the diagram above.
  • The device features protections against both over-temperature and over-current, and the current limitation is adjustable. 
  • Typical line and load regulation are 0.07% and 0.4%, respectively. 


Physical Considerations 

  • The LEO3910 operates over a temperature range of -40 to +125 °C
  • The regulator is offered in a slug down, Power-SO 20 package. The package, including the gull wings, measures 14.2 x 15.9 mm


Feature image used courtesy of STMicroelectronics