The BepiColombo Laser Altimeter (BeLA) power converter module (PCM): Concept and characterisation

Rodrigo, J.; Gasquet, E.; Castro, J.-M.; Herranz, M.; Lara, L.-M.; Muñoz, M.; Simon, Attila; Behnke, T.; Thomas, Nicolas (2017). The BepiColombo Laser Altimeter (BeLA) power converter module (PCM): Concept and characterisation. Review of scientific instruments, 88(3), 034702. American Institute of Physics 10.1063/1.4977096

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This paper presents the principal considerations when designing DC-DC converters for space instruments, in particular for the power converter module as part of the first European space laser altimeter: “BepiColombo Laser Altimeter” on board the European Space Agency-Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission BepiColombo. The main factors which determine the design of the DC-DC modules in space applications are printed circuit board occupation, mass, DC-DC converter efficiency, and environmental-survivability constraints. Topics included in the appropriated DC-DC converter design flow are hereby described. The topology and technology for the primary and secondary stages, input filters, transformer design, and peripheral components are discussed. Component selection and design trade-offs are described. Grounding, load and line regulation, and secondary protection circuitry (under-voltage, over-voltage, and over-current) are then introduced. Lastly, test results and characterization of the final flight design are also presented. Testing of the inrush current, the regulated output start-up, and the switching function of the power supply indicate that these performances are fully compliant with the requirements.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Space and Habitability (CSH)

UniBE Contributor:

Simon, Attila and Thomas, Nicolas


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering




American Institute of Physics




Dora Ursula Zimmerer

Date Deposited:

22 Nov 2017 14:16

Last Modified:

22 Nov 2017 14:16

Publisher DOI:





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