Having long been an enabling partner for space voyages, and carefully cultivated a reputation for safety and reliability as well as performance, we’re now part of the first mission where a deliberate full-scale cosmic crash was the primary objective.
It’s not as crazy as it seems. NASA’s £240m Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is part of the exciting international effort to explore ways in which we might in future defend ourselves from asteroids or comets on a collision course with Earth.
The team was also reassured by Smiths Interconnect’s long and passionate space innovation heritage, including 70 years of participation in successful space missions including to Venus and Mars, and our reputation for design and manufacturing quality controls at our manufacturing site in Dundee.
These included testing the isolator for microwave resilience in a vacuum chamber that replicated the conditions of deep space, to prove it would retain its RF performance under hard vacuum and at extreme temperatures.
We also demonstrated that our components would survive the intense vibration of both launch and probe ejection, thermal fluctuations throughout the journey and any other mechanical shocks.
Perhaps surprisingly, one of the biggest risks to the delicate components of the isolator is during assembly and testing. Atypically, we analyse our space components in the event of a ground fault, and we use customized ‘flange savers’ which protect the component’s signal interfaces prior to assembly. We also fastidiously maintain the highest production standards, including interplanetary cleansing measures to prevent carrying any of earth’s germs into space. After such careful preparation it may seem counterintuitive but watching the DART crash will be one of our proudest moments yet – as it will mark our official status as Pioneers of Planet Protection.Product Details