SBOA344A July 2019 – September 2022 INA240-SEP , LMX2694-SEP , SN55HVD233-SEP , SN65C1168E-SEP , TL7700-SEP , TLV1704-SEP , TPS73801-SEP , TPS7H1210-SEP , TPS7H3302-SEP , TPS7H4003-SEP , TPS7H4010-SEP , TPS7H5005-SEP , TPS7H5006-SEP , TPS7H5007-SEP , TPS7H5008-SEP
Historically, satellite programs have used space grade, hermetically sealed, QML-V qualified components for enhanced reliability and radiation hardness. With the emergence continued growth in constellation and low-earth orbit satellite launches for new commercial and government programs, there is a growing need for smaller components that can meet strict budgets. As a result, there has been more interest in using plastic encapsulated microcircuits (PEM) in space for a variety of reasons. PEMs become more attractive because leading edge products are not available as space qualified products and PEMs generally have smaller footprints and are lighter than the ceramic packages used in space qualified products. It has been recognized that there is a quality and reliability risk in using commercial-off the shelf (COTS) products and some space programs have been investigating using automotive grade AEC-Q100 products with more stringent qualification requirements. However, the extra qualification steps in Q100 parts do not meet all the requirements of a space application, even for those space applications with reduced requirements. For instance, commercial low earth orbit (LEO) applications with a projected three year life still have to meet radiation goals that many PEM products do not survive. One of the biggest challenges for a satellite program is finding and then testing those products that meet the radiation goals.
Although radiation performance may be biggest obstacle to using some COTS or automotive products in space, there are a number of other risks and factors to consider, such as tin whiskers, copper bond wires, rated temperature range, and package outgassing. Finding a device that can withstand the harsh environments of space can prove to be time consuming and challenging.
In addition to Texas Instruments' full line of rad-hard QML-V products for normal and high risk space missions, TI has introduced the rad-tolerant Space Enhanced Plastic (Space EP) product family in PEM packaging to lower the risk of using PEMs for missions with reduced requirements. The Space EP products have the following features:
The risks of using PEMs in space and how TI's Space EP products address these risks are discussed in this application note.