Enhancing Lifetime of 1U/2U CubeSat Electric Power System with Distributed Architecture and Power-Down Mode

Amarendra Edpuganti, Vinod Khadkikar, Hatem Zeineldin, Mohamed Shawky El Moursi, Mohamed Al Hosani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The successful mission of CubeSat require reliable and fault-tolerant electrical power system (EPS) that powers all the other subsystems and payloads. Several studies have shown that EPS failure has been one of the main contributors for the CubeSat mission failure. The main objective of this paper is to enhance the lifetime of CubeSats EPS by proposing a distributed EPS architecture and power-down mode. The distributed architecture consists of independent converters for maximum power point tracking operation of photovoltaic (PV) panels. This is possible by using gallium nitride field-effect transistors to reduce the converter footprint and placing the converters on the back-side of the PV panels. Also, single-inductor based N-1 redundant converters for generation and load-side are proposed to provide uninterrupted operation during component failures. Thus, the proposed distributed architecture not only improves the reliability but also facilitates placement of redundant converters to achieve the fault-tolerant capability. To further reduce the electrical and thermal stresses on the semiconductor devices and thus, improve the EPS life span, a novel power-down mode is proposed for the power converters. In this mode, semiconductor devices are switched-off whenever the power processed is below the threshold level and/or no-load operation. Reliability block diagrams are illustrated to demonstrate the reliability improvement and calculations shows that the proposed distributed architecture has higher reliability than the conventional EPS architecture. All the proposed concepts are validated using a prototype developed based on the specifications of MYSAT-1, which is an 1U CubeSat launched by Khalifa University.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)901-913
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industry Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • CubeSats
  • fault-tolerance
  • low earth orbit (LEO) satellites
  • nanosatellites
  • reliability
  • satellites electric power system (EPS)
  • small satellites


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