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Discovery Semiconductors InGaAs Photodiode Modules Return to Earth After 18 Months on the International Space Station


Ewing, NJ - May 11, 2012

Discovery Semiconductors High Speed InGaAs Photodiode and Balanced Photodiodes returned to Earth after 18 months on the International Space Station (ISS). They were part of the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) 7 mission launched on the Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-129) on November 16, 2009, and returned on the Space Shuttle Endeavor (STS-134) on June 1, 2011. NASA’s Langley Research Center launched them as part of their LIDAR transceiver components and recently released them to Discovery Semiconductors for further study.

Dr. Narasimha Prasad, Aerospace Technologist, at NASA Langley commented, "A suitcase shaped, rugged, flight-worthy box known as Passive Experiment Containers (PECs) is used to transport the selected materials to and from the ISS. The MISSE 7 mission was managed by the NASA Glenn Research Center with Naval Research Laboratory, Boeing, and NASA Langley playing significant roles. In case of MISSE 7 package, there were two sections, 7A and 7B. PEC 7A’s orientation is zenith/nadir (space facing/earth facing), while PEC 7B faces ram/wake (forward/backward) relative to the ISS orbit. NASA Langley sent a package with several LIDAR transceiver components on PEC 7B; Discovery Semiconductors two photodiode modules were part of this package facing wake side, primarily used to study for UV and radiation exposure effects."

Mr. Abhay Joshi, President and CEO of Discovery Semiconductors added, "MISSE missions are unique and we are grateful to NASA Langley for this opportunity. I have worked on space missions before, but the devices launched rarely come back to earth, as most spacecrafts get destroyed in the atmospheric re-entry after their missions are over. MISSE 7 has given us a great opportunity to study these InGaAs photodiode and balanced photodiodes which went through the STS-129 launch, 18 months of stay on ISS, and then re-entry back to earth on STS-134. We have started Post Flight tests on these devices, and our preliminary analysis shows the InGaAs photodiodes have been surprisingly intact under the influence of UV, radiation, as well as thermal cycling in space. Over the next few months, we will be studying carefully not only the electro-optical characteristics of these InGaAs photodiodes, but also other parts of the modules such as fiber optic cables, fiber optic connectors, metal housings, mm wave substrates, solder joints, amongst other things.  This data will allow us to design even better and rugged InGaAs photodiode modules for future space flights".


Discovery Semiconductors is an industry leader in manufacturing ultrafast, high optical power handling InGaAs photodiodes, radio frequency over fiber optical receivers, balanced optical receivers and several other custom products for applications ranging from analog RF links to ultrafast digital communications. Discovery’s subsystems include Kitty Hawk, an ultra-fast Optical Coherent System.

For additional information, including complete product specifications, operational capabilities and pricing, or to discuss your application in detail, please call Discovery at: (609) 434-1311 or fax: (609) 434-1317.

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