Abhay M. Joshi
Discovery Semiconductors, Inc.
119 Silvia Street
Ewing, New Jersey, 08628 USA
Microsatellites are fast becoming important scientific and commercial realities. However, most satellites that fall in this class are still fairly large (~50 Kg, ~0.5 m). One of the major obstacles in reducing these parameters further is the lack of integration of all the satellites functions. Normally, most satellites are constructed from physically separate sub-systems, each of which is composed of some combination of circuit boards and components. This partitioned approach wastes valuable space and weight directly by increasing demands on structure and power resources of the satellite (Payne 1992 and Priedhorsky 1989). This is the problem that Discovery Semiconductors wishes to address. We propose to design and construct an entirely integrated satellite (INT-SAT) that contains all the electronics of a fully functional satellite condensed into one module. This module, which would be very compact and light-weight, would be constructed from specially designed 4 to 8 inch silicon wafer size chips. Through the creative use of semiconductor processing and proprietary crystal growth techniques, all the components required for a state of the art satellite can be implemented on the silicon chips. The INT-SAT's condensed electronics module will be compact and light weight, and will occupy only 200 cubic centimeters, and will weigh less than 500 grams. Since the electronics are the heart of almost every mission, this integration will produce drastic savings in weight and size, enabling the reduction of satellite mass to well below 10 Kg.
*Published in Space Technology and Applications International Forum-1998, pp.153-158, 1998