VPT Inc. (Blacksburg, VA) announced that the US Air Force (USAF) has awarded VPT a contract to research and develop a modular, high-efficiency, series-connected, boost regulator (SCBR) solar array, peak-power tracker (PPT) for use in satellite systems. VPT will design a small, efficient power system that incorporates the use of off-the-shelf, dc/dc power converters.
Initially for use in defense systems, the new power supply designs will be applicable for a number of commercial satellite platforms in the future. Manufacturers of small and medium-sized commercial satellites will be able to incorporate these smaller power supplies for an overall reduced total cost of ownership. The new class of SCBR PPTs will optimize the use of energy from the satellite solar arrays, enabling smaller batteries and a smaller overall satellite size that is lower in cost to produce and more efficient to operate.
The basis of the modular SCBR PPT will be VPT’s line of radiation-tolerant, off-the-shelf, dc/dc converters that feature VPT's patented magnetic feedback control, standard 100Krads radiation tolerances and 60MeV single-dose radiation tolerances, fault-tolerant parallel operation, a proprietary current-sharing method, and thick-film hybrid technology.
The technology now in development is expected to be commercially available in approximately 12 months.