ArticlePDF Available

Power Processing Unit Activities in Airbus DS Space Equipments

Authors:

Abstract

This paper presents the Power Processing Units in Airbus DS Space Equipment. Electric propulsion has (EP) become a reality in the commercial market, and therefore is not anymore a niche market for earth observation and/or deep space missions. Major players worldwide for Commercial satellite manufacturers are targeting in their current programs, electric satellites solutions for orbit raising (OR) and station keeping (SK) maneuvers. Several EP technologies are competing against each other, in particular Hall Effect Thruster (HET), Gridded Ion Engine (GIE) technology (including Kaufmann and Radio Frequency technologies) and High Efficiency Multistage Plasma (HEMP). The main two parameters used to trade-off the main EP technologies are Thrust/Power ratio and Specific Impulse (ISP). Currently the market is mainly thrust driven, and therefore the dominant technology is HET. HET is the most efficient technology for the Thrust/Power ratio parameter. Airbus DS Space Equipment include in our portfolio PPU solutions for high Thrust ratio and high ISP solutions.
POWER PROCESSING UNIT ACTIVITIES IN AIRBUS DS SPACE EQUIPMENTS
Author: Fernando PINTÓ (1)
Co-authors: Javier PALENCIA (2), Nicoletta WAGNER(3), Guillaume GLORIEUX (4)
(1) Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS Crisa), Torres Quevedo 9, 28760 Tres Cantos, Spain, Email:
Fernando.Pinto@airbus.com
(2) Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS Crisa), Torres Quevedo 9, 28760 Tres Cantos, Spain, Email:
Javier.Palencia@airbus.com
(3) Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS GmbH), Claude-Dornier-Str.88090 Immenstaad, Germany, Email:
Nicoletta.Wagner@airbus.com
(4) Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS SAS),Rocade Jean Moulin ,Elancourt France, Email:
Guillaume.Glorieux@airbus.com
ABSTRACT
This paper presents the Power Processing Units in
Airbus DS Space Equipment.
Electric propulsion has (EP) become a reality in the
commercial market, and therefore is not anymore a
niche market for earth observation and/or deep space
missions. Major players worldwide for Commercial
satellite manufacturers are targeting in their current
programs, electric satellites solutions for orbit raising
(OR) and station keeping (SK) maneuvers. Several EP
technologies are competing against each other, in
particular Hall Effect Thruster (HET), Gridded Ion
Engine (GIE) technology (including Kaufmann and
Radio Frequency technologies) and High Efficiency
Multistage Plasma (HEMP). The main two parameters
used to trade-off the main EP technologies are
Thrust/Power ratio and Specific Impulse (ISP).
Currently the market is mainly thrust driven, and
therefore the dominant technology is HET. HET is the
most efficient technology for the Thrust/Power ratio
parameter.
Figure 1. Electric Propulsion Technologies landscape
Airbus DS Space Equipment include in our portfolio
PPU solutions for high Thrust ratio and high ISP
solutions.
1 MOTIVATION
EP business case is driven by current technologies,
operator’s mindset, and future trends. Several questions
with difficult answer can be raised about the future
trends for EP. Would the major operators accept OR
transfer period above 5 months? How launcher direct
injection would impact on the current technologies?
Currently the answers to these questions are not
obvious. Airbus DS Space Equipment believes the
future is not clear and will most likely not be based on
just one single technology, to answer the mid/long term
market needs.
In this sense Airbus DS Space Equipment supported by
the National Agencies and the European Space
Agencies is evolving their current PPU products for
high voltage technologies (PPU HV) and developing a
new HET PPU solution (PPU Elektro) able to answer
mid-long term market needs.
Airbus DS contains the following PPUs in their
portfolio:
9 PPU “Elektro” for HET technology
9 PPU HV for high voltage applications products: GIE
and HEMP technologies
9 Generic building blocks to maximize communalities
between the different technologies
Figure 2 illustrates the PPU mapping with respect the
main EP technologies in the market:
DOI: 10.1051/
,71618011
16
E3S Web of Conferences e3sconf/201
ESPC 2016
18011 (2017)
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution
License 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Figure 2 Airbus DS PPU activities to answer to the
different Electric Propulsion Technologies
9PPU “Elektro” product is a joint development
between Airbus DS Elancourt (France) and Airbus
DS Crisa (Spain). It is a flexible and modular
equipment with a new innovative concept of PPU,
capable of adapting to a wide range of EP subsystem
configurations and compatible to the main HET
thrusters in the market. Recently, EM PPU coupling
test has been successfully accomplished and the
EQM is currently under manufacturing.
9PPUs for HV applications product. Currently there
are already several PPU products available already
qualified as follows:
oPPU for T5 is a joint development between
Airbus DS Crisa (Spain) and Airbus DS
Germany. PPU is a flight proven design in the
GOCE mission
oPPU for T6: is a joint development between
Airbus DS Crisa (Spain) and Airbus DS
Germany. PPU is a qualified design. First
mission will be ESA Bepi-Colombo mission.
Next step currently under development, is to
industrialise existing product in the frame of
EGEP program
oPPU for HEMP developed by Airbus DS
Germany. PPU is a qualified design and FM
already delivered to the customer.
oNext step is to have available the maximum
communality between the different technologies.
For this purpose Airbus DS Space Equipment is
running a development of generic building
blocks to easily customize the PPU to any EP
thruster independently of its technology. The
maximum communalization will significantly
reduce the development efforts, but also the
recurrent efforts by applying new technologies
and innovative solutions.
9Generic building blocks are the basis for the PPU
configuration for the different thrusters: PPU for T5
& T6, PPU for RIT10 and RIT22 and PPU for
HEMP. The core element is the generic High
Voltage Module, which can be described as a
functional block that is designed to be customized to
specific thruster needs by exchanging a sub-module
without need for a delta-qualification. This modular
approach provides the necessary flexibility and
maximum of recurring elements. Airbus DS has
managed to harmonize these products based on the
generic High Voltage Power Supply (HVPS).
2 PPU ELEKTRO FOR HET
The PPU Elektro motivation is to respond to Satcom
market towards full Electrical Propulsion solutions,
capable not only to perform Station Keeping maneuvers,
but also Orbit Raising and transfer. Airbus Defence and
Space initiated PPU development in order to answer to
these needs targeting, but not limited to, 5 kW class
Hall-Effect Thrusters.
This joint development between Airbus DS Elancourt
(France) and Airbus DS Crisa (Spain) offers a new
innovative concept of PPU, capable to adapt to a wide
range of EP subsystem configurations.
Figure 3 Airbus DS PPU Elektro for HET. Mock-up in
15 kW configurations
The PPU Elektro offers:
9An optimised cost solution thanks to an innovative
architecture and Design For Manufacturing (DFM)
approach based on extensive experience on Telecom
Platforms
9A flexible and modular equipment Æ Same solution
able to deliver from 1.5 kW up to 20 kW. PPU
Elektro is thus able to drive up to a max. power of
20 kW (4 thrusters).
9The capacity to answer OR and SK needs, with in-
flight flexibility to configure the unit into a wide
range of operating points between 300 to 400V
(optimize ISP vs thrust)
9A flexible design compatible to all main HET
thrusters in the market.
9Compatible with a 100V power bus (standard for the
Telecom Satellites), it could be easily adapted to
other power bus voltages.
DOI: 10.1051/
,71618011
16
E3S Web of Conferences e3sconf/201
ESPC 2016
18011 (2017)
2
Elektro PPU is physically implemented in three main
building blocks: Heater-Keeper-Ignitor module (HKI),
anode module and Filter thruster switching unit (FTSU)
as follows:
Figure 4 Airbus DS PPU “Elektro” Building Blocks
(5 kW configuration)
The electrical architecture is presented in Figure 5 and 6
The main principle of this architecture is that all
functions which are not used permanently in the
subsystem (Cathodes Power Supply: Heater, Keeper and
Ignitor and sequencing of the overall PPU) are gathered
in a module called HKISeq. This module is able to
address up to 6 cathodes. All other functions (Anode
5kW power supply, Magnet and Xenon Flow Control
supplies) are gathered in the module called Anode
module. The Filter/Thruster Switching Unit (FTSU)
modules are used to filter and switch the Anode power
supplies towards 2 thrusters.
Therefore, Elektro PPU architecture and design enables
two different configurations of the PPU:
9Bi-thruster configuration: Able to interface with up
to two thrusters
9Multi-thruster configuration: Up to six cathodes,
offering redundancy at PPU level
Figure 5 Airbus DS “Elektro” Bi-thruster configuration
Figure 6 Airbus DS “Elektro” Multi-thruster
configuration
All modules are physically independent and the
communication between HKISeq and Anode modules is
made by a CAN bus through a harness. Thus, the
modules can be assembled altogether with standard
fixing points (no specific tie-rods) to form a single unit,
or they can be implemented separately.
Examples of the possible configurations are presented in
the Figures 3 and 4. This modular approach aims at
facilitating accommodation of the PPUs in the
spacecraft.
The PPU Elektro development is on-going. The EM
PPU already delivered and CDR and EQM
manufacturing are currently on going and close to
finalisation. The BB and EM model has demonstrated
the functionality and performances. The efficiency was
measured around 96% and a characterization of the
power limitation has been performed
Figure 7 Airbus DS EM PPU Elektro under validation
tests in 5 kW configurations
DOI: 10.1051/
,71618011
16
E3S Web of Conferences e3sconf/201
ESPC 2016
18011 (2017)
3
3 HIGH VOLTAGE TECHNOLOGIES PPUS
3.1 PPU for T5
The PPU for QinetiQ T5 thruster, the so called IPCU
has been developed by Airbus DS Crisa (Spain) and
Airbus DS Germany for the beam output supplies. The
IPCU has successfully flown in the ESA GOCE
mission.
This unit is meant to be used for low power missions,
mainly for earth observation purposes. The main asset
of this unit is the high level of controllability from
0.6 mN to 20 mN with a resolution of 12 N, with a
beam output voltage supply of 1200V. Refer to Figure
8.
Figure 8 Airbus DS PFM IPCU for T5
3.2 PPU for T6
The Power Supply and Conditioning Unit, PSCU, has
been developed as a parallel contract to AlphaBus (ESA
under ARTES Program). The PSCU has been developed
by Airbus DS Crisa and Airbus DS Germany for 1850
Vdc Beam Supply Modules
This unit is the first 5 kW PPU ever developed in
Europe, able to answer to the new full electric satellites
needs for the Telecom market and the most demanding
deep space missions.
The first flight mission for the PSCU will be ESA
BepiColombo mission to Mercury.
The PSCU (see Figure 9) is composed of two
Accelerator-Neutralizer Supplies (DANS), housed in
single box together with the Beam Supply (BS).
The PSCU T6 design has been upgraded for
BepiColombo in order to provide full redundancy and
flexibility at PPU level:
9PSCU T6 enables the system to interface with up to
four thrusters, operating one at a time with a total
power of 5kW
9PSCU T6 is able to offer full redundancy for each of
the power supplies
Figure 9 Airbus DS EQM PSCU Architecture
The BEPI PPU EQM has been successfully coupled
with the thruster and fully qualified. The flight models
(2 FMs) are manufactured and delivered to end
customer to support the first flight mission.
Figure 10. Airbus DS EQM PSCU for T6
The next steps for the PSCU T6 product are the product
industrialisation. In the frame of the European GNSS
Evolution Program (EGEP), Airbus DS Crisa together
with Airbus DS Germany is performing the
industrialization of the BEPI PPU Unit. This activity
will provide to the market a competitive EP system
based on the T6 engine targeting Galileo Second
Generation platform as the first customer.
The main goals of the industrialization of the BEPI PPU
leading to the EGEP PPU design are therefore:
9Minimization of recurrent cost: It is the most
important goal for a recurrent production as the
required by Galileo mission.
9Keep the Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
9System flexibility: As part of the industrialization it
has been also considered a goal to get a unit design
allowing a greater flexibility at system level, so that
with minor (or none) unit adaptations it would be
possible to configure different system architectures.
DOI: 10.1051/
,71618011
16
E3S Web of Conferences e3sconf/201
ESPC 2016
18011 (2017)
4
The EGEP PPU is built of two sub-units:
9The DANS built off four modules:
oPower Conditioning Module
oLV Control Module
oLV Power Module
oHV Electronics Module
9The Beam Supply (BS)
One of the major differences is that the unit will not
include any type of internal redundancy
The DANS together with the BS and the harness
connecting both sub-units built off the complete PPU.
Figure 11 EGEP PPU
This configuration allows expanding the unit to connect
two or three thrusters increasing the number of DANS
but not BS modules as far as only one of the thrusters is
powered at full power or two of them are powered
simultaneously with at half power each.
Figure 12 shows the dual thruster configuration.
Figure 12 EGEP PPU Two thrusters configuration
The proposed PPU concept also helps to distribute the
power dissipated by placing DANS and BS properly
separated and allocated to different panels.
After industrialization of the unit the electrical
performances expected are the same (or better) than
those obtained for BEPI PPU. In particular the expected
improvements/design goals expected with respect to
former design are:
9Mass reduction: 29%
9Volume reduction: 40%
9EEE parts reduction: 30%
9Power Dissipation reduction: 22%
EGEP PPU development includes a design phase and
EM model manufacturing and testing. The design phase
is finished and EM delivery of the complete PPU for
coupling with the thruster is expected in Q2 2017
3.3 HEMP PPU
Airbus DS in Germany has developed the PPU for
HEMP thruster, the so called PSCU. The PSCU has
been developed in the frame of an On-Orbit
Demonstration opportunity (SmallGeo). The already
qualified hardware is now foreseen for a first flight
within the German Heinrich-Hertz (H2) mission.
The Airbus DS PSCU is designed as a modular product
(see Figure 13), providing two high voltage power
supplies (Anode Supplies) in parallel and operating as
main supply for the thrusters, each delivering 1000V /
1400W. Redundancy concept approach includes
redundancy at PPU level for most of the different power
supplies and the capability to drive several thrusters
with one single PPU.
Figure 13 Airbus DS PFM PSCU for HEMP
3.4 Generic Building Blocks for the PPUs
The new PPU generation for these technologies will be
focused on two main axis:
9To develop new modular, flexible and cost
effective solutions
9To maximize the communalization or building
blocks between the different PPUs for the several
technologies.
DOI: 10.1051/
,71618011
16
E3S Web of Conferences e3sconf/201
ESPC 2016
18011 (2017)
5
For this purpose, Airbus DS Germany is running in the
frame of Artes 5.1 a development of generic building
blocks to easily customize the PPU to any EP thruster
independently of its technology. The maximum
communalization will significantly reduce the
development efforts, but also the recurrent efforts by
applying new technologies and innovative solutions.
This activity excludes the High Voltage Power Supply
as this already is the main common building block
baselined for the different High Voltage PPU designs
(see next paragraph).
4 GENERIC HIGH VOLTAGE POWER
SUPPLIES FOR HIGH VOLTAGE
THRUSTERS
Generic High Voltage Power Supply has been
developed in Airbus DS Germany and is currently
commonly used in all high voltage PPU applications in
particular GOCE, AlphaBus, BepiColombo and
SmallGEO. The actual generation of modules is used
for the Anode Supply Modules for HEMP3050 plasma
thruster and the Beam Supply Module (BSM) of the
QinetiQ T5 and T6 Ion thruster. Refer to figure 14
Figure 14 Airbus DS High Voltage Power Supply
The development of a new generation of the generic
High Voltage Power Supply has been started in order to
meet the needs of Orbit Raising applications. The main
technology developments and improvements are:
9Increase of power from 1,4 kW up to 5 kW
9Modular approach (1,4/2,5/5 kW)
9Configurable output voltage to optimise the
efficiency for orbit raising and station keeping
9Design for manufacturing / cost
9Planar transformer & AMB / direct bonded copper
Generic HVPS qualification is expected to be concluded
in 2017 and widely used for the new High Voltage
generation PPUs, in particular EGEP PPU as described
in the previous chapter
Figure 15 Airbus DS New Generation Generic High
Voltage Power Supply
5 CONCLUSIONS AND OUTLOOK
This paper has summarized the PPU activities in Airbus
DS Space Equipment. The complete portfolio contains
solutions for all the Electric Propulsion HET and High
Voltage technologies. Airbus DS Space Equipment is
continuously improving the designs in order to be able
to answer not only to the short term needs, but also the
mid and long term needs.
6 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The authors of this paper wish to thank ESA ESTEC
and delegations for their support, in all the relevant
activities, summarised as follows:
9The HKI module as part of the PPU Elektro for
HET, described in this paper was developed in the
frame of Artes 3/4 program under ESA contract
E/0534-01B
9The PPU industrialisation for T6 has been run
under the contract EGEP ID 76.02.02 –
Industrialization of Power Processing Unit for T6
Electric Propulsion Subsystem
9DLR Zuwendung “Generic High Voltage Power
Supply”, Ref. No. FKZ.: 50 RN 1302
7 REFERENCES
[1] IEPC-2015-225ISTS-2015-b-225 Power
Processing Units - Activities in Europe 2015
[2] AIAA 2016-5032 (Propulsion and Energy Forum).
Electric propulsion Electronics Activities in
Europe 2016
[3] SP2016_ 3125086 (Space propulsion conference
2016). Optimized 5 kW PPU for Gridded Ion
Engine
[4] SP2016 (Space propulsion conference 2016)
Power Processing Units activities in Airbus DS
Space Equipment.
DOI: 10.1051/
,71618011
16
E3S Web of Conferences e3sconf/201
ESPC 2016
18011 (2017)
6