VPD Phase Shifter, Microelectronics Hybrid, DSCS

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

This is a microelectronic hybrid designed for signals processing on a Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) spacecraft. A Variable Power Divider (VPD) takes an a single incoming signal and divides it into two output signals to facilitate transmissions from a satellite to an Earth ground station.

To meet weight and space constraints on the spacecraft, the device used layering to achieve complex function in a small size. Beneath the visible surface of electrical devices and connections are several additional conducting and nonconducting layers. The buried conducting layers provide additional pathways for connecting the electrical devices on the hybrid's top layer. The completed hybrid is an ingenious puzzle in which nearly one hundred chips and devices are integrated through more than a thousand connections.

This design represented the state of the art in miniaturization for such hybrids as of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Lockheed Martin donated this artifact to the Museum in 1998.