KCB Solutions’ Space Grade Semiconductors have been a part of telling people where to go for decades

By May 3, 2022 News

RF and Microwave Space qualified components are key to the functioning of the Global Positioning System

Shirley, MA 5/3/22 – KCB Solutions is a proud supplier of Space grade RF & Microwave Surface Mount diodes, transistors, low noise amplifiers, switches, and GaN power amplifiers in support of subtier and prime satellite manufacturers.

KCB Solutions assembled and screened products form a part of the low noise amplifier, power amplifier, switching and frequency converter modules that support the GPS satellite ground to space, inter-satellite and command and telemetry communications systems – all essential parts that allow the ground crews to control the satellites and enable to satellites to communicate within the constellation and broadcast GPS signals to the everyday user. 

The U.S. Space Force’s GPS (Global Positioning System) constellation, began life means for the US military to enable tracking the location of our submarine fleet in the 1960’s.  The first official NAVSTAR GPS satellite was launched in 1978 and since then the system has evolved into an extremely complex system that provides unprecedented position and timing accuracy for military application. The system has since become a global utility with commercial use far outweighing military use. 

Air traffic control, banking, farming, and cellular networks all depend on uninterrupted GPS coverage.  Without this system, our daily lives would be severely impacted and changed in so many ways.  The safe operation of this system has become a top international priority 

The United States is committed to maintaining the availability of at least 24 operational GPS satellites, 95% of the time, flying in medium earth orbit (MEO) at an altitude of approx. 12,550 miles, with each satellite circling the earth twice a day. 

To ensure this commitment, the U.S. Space Force has been flying 31 operational GPS satellites for well over a decade. Maintaining this number of satellites is accomplished by a nearly constant level of production that produces satellites on a regular basis.

In 1983, shortly after the Korean Air tragedy (the Soviet Union shot down a Korea Air passenger jet who due to a navigation error, wandered into restricted air space), GPS tracking was declassified for public use.  The system has originally allowed the military to access better accuracy information, through a program called “Selective Availability”.  In 2000 this practice was discontinued after President Clinton signed a law removing the practice and granting full access to the public.  The US government has complete control of the system and has in the past, denied access to, or degrade performance to countries that are not in favor. 

As a result other countries or group of countries have their own GPS systems.  Russia’s GLONASS; China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System; European Union’s Galileo; Japan’s Quasi Zenith system are all operational.  India and South Korea have systems in development.

The GPS system has been upgraded in some way with almost every satellite launched.  KCB Solutions has been providing devices for about 15 years with most of the activity in the GPS-III block.  We are also happy to say that we are working with these suppliers on the next generation of GPS satellites that are under development to be able to operate under in the future contested area that space is becoming.

About KCB Solutions

Founded in 2003, KCB Solutions has grown into a leading manufacturer of RF and Microwave surface mount microcircuits and hybrids, focused on Space, Aerospace, and Defense applications. Based on our commitment to product quality and an exceptionally high level of customer service, we have become a partner and sole source supplier to some of the largest OEMs in the world.

Our modern manufacturing facility reflects our philosophy of cost-efficient vertical integration with state-of-the-art automated assembly and electrical testing. Our investment in technology allows us to control the manufacturing process to achieve our customers’ requirements. Through the implementation of continuous improvement and lean manufacturing practices, AS9100 quality standards have been put in place to specifically address the requirements of our target markets.

KCB has a long history of supplying Space Level product tested using the flows outlined in MIL-PRF-38534 Class H or K (multi-chip hybrids) and MIL-PRF-38535 Class Level B and S (single chip), with an excellent reputation for on-time delivery and reduced overall cost. Coupled with our program and component management resources, we are able to support long-running space programs for the commercial and defense industries and help minimize obsolescence risk throughout the life of any program.