This December marks the 15th anniversary of the International Space Station (ISS).
In other space-related geek news, China just soft-landed a probe on the moon and released a rover on the surface, and Iran launched its second rocket and capsule into space, which contained a monkey, and returned it to Earth successfully. Finally, an ancient Martian lake explored by the Mars Rover could have supported life, according to recent reports. (See “NASA says ‘Hands off our stuff on the moon!’ “),
All of this will fuel more efforts for future manned and telepresence efforts. You can check out this EDN blog, “Finally, a practical approach to space,” for more information.
First of all, it takes larger rocket engines and more fuel as onboard weight increases on a mission, so you want to keep weight and size down to keep costs down. For an electronics payload, guidance, communications, and control systems that means high levels of integration.
Techniques such as Analog front ends (AFEs), Power management Integrated Circuits (PMICs), and microcontrollers with lots of analog integrated or lots of analog with a micro integrated are recommended. You also want efficient power — avoid heavy heatsinks and transformers if possible. This means switching regulators, low resistance MOSFETs, and AC-power your circuit without a transformer or a low-cost, non-isolated AC/DC buck converter with no transformer.
Don't forget about selecting the right process for small, power-efficient ICs.
And finally, stay current with the changes in the industry to use the best integration strategy for your designs.
We'll be looking at more topics related to space and integration on Planet Analog and Integration Nation, as well as on EDN. In the meantime, let us know what you still find fascinating about space and technology on our message board.