High Reliability is fundamental for space missions. Cost reduction with high reliability and quality plays an important role in the development of the space market. Selected commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics are tested and qualified by SPECTRUM and offer a new perspective in the space technology. The so called Space-COTS allow SMEs and big players to redesign the evolution of the space field by introducing the best and modern technology performance in space. Space hardware industries can access a variety of parts from several manufacturers and provide a big design flexibility.
Quality, Reliability and Testing
- Best pre-selected COTS
- Qualification tests based on ESA/MIL Standards
- Defined Radiation hardness levels
- Screening test by request
- Production of Hi-Rel parts based on COTS
- Complementary datasheet with space specifications
Variety of Products
Selected devices (robust technologies) from several manufacturers covering almost all commercial functions:
Diodes, Bipolar Transistors, FET, Power MOSFETS, OPAMP, Comparators, DC/DC converter, Voltage regulator, Voltage references, ADC/DAC converter, Logic Devices, Drivers, Memories, Controllers, FPGAs, Sensors, Image Sensors, Optoelectronic-Parts.
Furthermore other complementary products (Batteries) and materials (Adhesives) are available.
- No ITAR and no export limitations
- Availability of numerous and different parts and materials
- Best Quality/Cost Ratio and attractive prices
- Fast delivery
- Project specific and customer support
The Space-COTS story
After the text edit has been completed, the paper is ready Space-COTS is a pure NewSpace concept and allow the access to commercial components qualified for space.
Jaime Estela, from the German/Peruvian Company Spectrum Aerospace, invented the term “Space-COTS” and its concept. The research work started in 2008 by supporting CubeSat projects in Europe and in South America. In this process, a deep knowledge of the CubeSat technology and its requirements and constraints was gained. Furthermore, the experience of these three researchers corroborated the use of commercial electronics in the space business. Working for the German Aerospace Agency (DLR) in satellite projects and the close contact to ESA standards gave an understanding of the long and expensive way of the traditional qualification of EEE parts. The DLR’ Standardization and EEE-Parts Division and the ESA Component Space Evaluation and Radiation Effects Section instructed the Spectrum Aerospace team the concept and philosophy of the test procedures for EEE parts.
SPACE-COTS Qualification Process
These experiences together crystallized in the innovative concept of the Space-COTS finding the middle point between not qualified parts at all (i.e. in CubeSats) and full qualified ITAR parts. Looking at the small satellite history many commercial parts can work in space for several years although they were not designed for space applications. However, reliable commercial EEE parts have to be identified. Middle of 2015 due to the participation in the Horizon-2020 program a feasibility study was conducted, where Jaime Estela (author) evaluated the components used in different satellites and identified the most used parts. The result of this study led to edition of the first Space-COTS catalogue, which will be published in the community portal “space-cots.com” soon. The aim of this catalogue is to list the major quantity of active and passive electronic, electric, and electro-mechanic parts covering almost all the space mission needs. This solution is more efficient and creates at the start phase the same situation like by the traditional satellite developers, where they get a list of ITAR components that they have to take for any design. The idea is to offer later a broader selection of components so that the Space-COTS catalogue will be similar as the component manufacturers and distributors.
The selection of the best commercial parts and its qualification represents the best Price/Quality Ratio and no other solution can offers so many advantages.
Space-COTS will be tested and qualified in different levels, depending of the qualification deepness it looks as follow:
- Class A: Full screening test
- Class B: TID and SEE test
- Class C: TID test
These classes follow the ESA/NASA Standards and new standards coming from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The more intensive the test higher the cost of the qualified devices and equipment. Anyway, this solution is much cheaper than the ITAR products. Between the price of commercial parts without qualification and the Space-COTS is well arranged.
The Space-COTS catalogue is classified in component groups. Each group involves the same type of components. Following groups were defined: diodes, bipolar Transistors, FET, power MOSFETS, OPAMP, comparators, DC/DC converter, voltage regulator, voltage references, ADC/DAC converter, logic devices, drivers, memories, controllers, FPGAs, sensors, image sensors, optoelectronic-parts among others.
Space-COTS will be used in each space mission but reliable and long life duration devices will be used in the most exigent missions like GEO missions or deep space missions.
The qualification of COTS inside one project, where one or few exemplars are needed, does not justify the qualification of each component because the test cost will increase the project budget considerably. Taking account of this Spectrum Aerospace will achieve the qualification of representative amounts of COTS and will bring these into the space market with attractive and competitive prices. Spectrum Aerospace has designed test environments that allow the qualification of a big amount of parts and in a short time.
One important point is to mention that new generation components will be included in a short time in the Space-COTS catalogue and it will be available for the acquisition quickly.
Following formula is valid for the origin of Space-COTS:
COTS + Innovative Qualification Test = Space-COTS
Spectrum Aerospace identifies the best COTS, qualifies it and then offers it to the best price to you!