VPT Receives NASA Award To Develop Space Power Systems

February 12, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

VPT Inc. recently received a research and development award from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop dc-dc power systems for use in future space vehicles and systems.

Under the contract, VPT will design and build prototype power systems for multiple NASA power system applications. Each system will be created using a modular — and therefore cost-efficient — component approach with VPT dc-dc power converters and electromagnetic interference (EMI) filters serving as the base for the system. All resulting power systems will meet stringent NASA requirements for design, parts selection, element evaluation, screening, radiation hardness, and qualification, company officials said.

According to Dr. Glenn Skutt, VPT's vice president of technology, "This contract will continue the technology leadership of VPT in providing power conversion solutions which are consistent with NASA's expressed needs for future missions. Power solutions developed under this contract will exploit innovative technological opportunities, resulting in the ability of NASA to implement flexible, affordable systemwide power solutions that promote reliability, adaptability and scalability."

Targeted NASA uses include:

— Johnson Space Center Space Station applications include power converters for the IBM A31 Notebook Computer PC used by astronauts

— Goddard Space Flight Center power system for the James Webb Space Telescope

— Glenn Research Center power system for the crew exploration vehicle and lunar orbiter

— Jet Propulsion Laboratories applications include a space-borne global positioning system receiver for attitude and orbit determination.

Potential non-NASA applications include many commercial satellite systems and the power system for the GPS III satellite system.

The new award represents an extension of VPT's long history in creating power solutions for space use, company officials said. VPT already builds standard hybrid power converters and EMI filters for space use. Many of VPT's power products for space are available off-the-shelf.

Some of the recent space programs that are powered by VPT include the Lockheed Martin GPSIIR-14 satellite, NASA's Messenger Mercury exploration spacecraft, and Beijingsat, which will provide enhanced meteorological monitoring in support of the 2008 Olympic Games.

VPT officials said they expect engineering units developed under this contract award to be available to prime contractors in approximately six months, with full-scale production units available by the end of 2006.