Creating Fuses For Space

HCSF is a breakthrough product that saves physical space, reduces part count and circuitry and overall variations in performance due to using less to achieve more.

Why are fuses used in space applications?

In telecom satellites the electrical energy from solar arrays and batteries is joined together via a power supply regulator and power distribution unit. The collective energy is redistributed to different subsystems (modules). Important modules like SM (service) or CM (communication) have to be protected.

The main job of the fuse:

  • A fuse protects subsystems from component damage if a critical overcurrent occurs
  • Due to the subsystem redundancy, a fuse has to disconnect the energy flux of the failed module or subsystem in a fast, reliable and safe manner
  • Always available during entire mission => high availability
  • No impact on system performance or functionality => high reliability

Four key requirements of space fuses:

  • Long-term behavior/stability (4’168 h life test at elevated temperature)
  • Behavior under space-related conditions (thermal vacuum)
  • Breaking capacity depends on supplied voltage
  • Resistivity against high short current pulses – an application-specific requirement

The SCHURTER space fuse HCSF was specifically designed to provide safe and stable operation under space conditions.

European Space Agency Looks to SCHURTER for Cooperation

In 2004 , the European Space, Research and Technology Center (ESTEC), a sub-organization of the European Space Agency (ESA), looked to SCHURTER to participate in a development cooperation to manufacture fuses for use in aerospace. The cooperation reached its high point in 2008 with the SMD fuse 1206 series MGA-S being listed as an ESA qualified product.

From MGA-S to HCSF – technology timeline for breakthrough solution

The SMD fuse 1206 series MGA-S has had a formidable heritage in space applications since its ESA approval and ESCC listing in 2008. However, demand for increased rated current for increased power requirements in space applications brought about the development of the High Current Space Fuse (HCSF). Pushing the envelope, the MGA-S, which is rated up to 3.5A @ 125VDC/VAC, was tested to new limits when used in parallel to achieve greater performance across multiple fuses. Although just as safe, stable and reliable, fuses used in parallel create increased challenges due to real-estate limitations, added expense for increased quantities, and additional design and test considerations.

From MGA-S to HCSF – technology timeline for breakthrough solution

Utilizing the technical advancements of the MGA-S, the new HCSF fuse was developed for applications with higher rated currents 5A to 15A @ 125VDC and a breaking capacity of 1,000A at 125VDC.

Like the MGA-S, the HCSF stands out as the industry’s most compact higher-performance fuse for space applications.

HCSF and its new birthright

Since its ESA approval and QSCC listing in 2016, the HCSF is making its way in the industry by catering to a highly anticipated demand. The fuse series is currently in the design phase with new space projects, and has achieved its first sales to collaborating partners.

The rigors of ESA’s qualification process, combined with the proven heritage of SCHURTER’s more than 80 years of fuse development, put the HCSF on its well-intended journey into space.

Visit SCHURTER Inc. at Space Tech Expo 2017 in booth 4012

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