We have been a premier supplier of space qualified coaxial and waveguide switches since 1970. Dow-Key Microwave designs, fabricates and tests all integrated switch blocks assemblies and individual switches in our facility. Our switches have had an in-flight failure free record in over 100 different space programs using 150 different product designs. With decades of experience and knowledge we are confident in providing high reliability solutions which can withstand the severe environments that space imposes on complex systems.
Dow-Key's innovative and proven high reliability, superior RF performance, and low current/magnetic latch SPDT switches have played a part in hundreds of successful space missions since the 1970s. Some of these missions include: GPS III (Global Positioning System), Atlas (launch vehicle), Pegasus (rocket), Milstar (satellite communication system), and Optus (leading operator of satellites in the Asia Pacific region).
Our rigorous quality assurance processes allow transfer switches to be used in critical programs such as Inmarsat-4 satellite system which supports Broadband and Global Area Network for delivering Internet and intranet content solutions (e.g. video, fax, email and LAN access). On other space missions like the ACE (Advanced Composition Explorer – an explorer mission) our lightweight (less than 55 grams) and highly reliable qualified transfer switches were a perfect fit.
The benefit of a T-switch over a transfer switch is that up to three combinations of RF paths are available, which is perfectly suited for space applications where more than two path combinations (DPDT) are required. In addition to superior RF performance and lightweight/high power capabilities, Dow-Key distinguishes itself from others by introducing random drive (minimizing the switching time) rather than forcing the application to switch RF paths in sequential order. These switches have been qualified in programs including MUOS (space craft), Isro (Indian Space program), and Insat-3 (multipurpose satellite design providing telecommunications, television broadcasting, meteorological, search and rescue services).
Over the years, Dow-Key's outstanding Hi-Rel track record has generated interest in combining space qualified switches and other components such as power dividers in a block of switches, a.k.a. switch blocks, to achieve the matrix complexity needed in programs such as GPS-3, Kompsat-3 (satellite), Inmarsat-4, and other classified programs. Experience gained in over 150 years of combined knowledge and practice in design, test, and manufacturing of Hi-Rel products, makes Dow-Key a perfect investment for custom and complex switching needs.
For specific part numbers and RF refer to our Space Brochure.
Dow-Key Space Team
We have an entire team of experts - from devoted sales and program managers, QA and procurement personnel to design, test, and manufacturing engineers - dedicated solely to space production that is supported by a well trained and certified group of technicians and production personnel. Our entire staff is fully dedicated to our customer base, with comprehensive focus on each project from the design phase all the way to final test and beyond.
Dow-Key Facility, Quality and Equipment
Dow-Key Microwave has heavily invested in technical staff and capital equipment to provide the right environment and tools for manufacturing products of the highest quality and reliability for use in manned and unmanned space vehicles.
Two Class 7 Clean Rooms with humidity and temperature controlled environment
Prohibited materials and screening chamber
Three full time T-VAC test stations
RF Power and Multipaction stations
HFSS (High Frequency Structural Simulator)
Cosmos FEA (validation and failure mode simulation)
Quality Management System (QMS) evolved from MIL-Q-9858A & MIL-I-45208
DOD classified certifications
AS9100 and ISO-9001 Certified through BSI Management Systems