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Meeting the increasing demand for rugged, high-speed connections in Space applications.

03 January 2023

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  • Meeting the increasing demand for rugged, high-speed connections in Space applications.

Space satellites market is evolving from RF Analog-based payloads providing low speed telecommunication signaling, to a new Digital Transparent Processor architecture for high throughput satellites. This type of architecture increases the demand for rugged and higher speed connectivity.

Space architectures are continuing to follow the trend of either daughter card to backplane or point to point system designs. The highest degree of flexibility is typically achieved using a point-to-point approach as seen in frame slice and SpaceWire or SpaceFibre architectures.

To meet this needs, Smiths Interconnect developed an advanced ultra-high-density, high-speed interconnect solution: the NXS series, specifically designed and tested for critical high-speed space applications, satisfies both point-to-point and backplane connector requirements. The system offers a reliable way to implement high density interconnections with high-speed signal transmission requirements, enabling a scalable satellite design. The NXS series combines controlled impedance differential pair signals together with the ability to add customizable modules. All with solderless board mounting. This technology will revolutionize the way in which spacecraft are designed and built by providing an unparalleled level of signal density and flexibility.

The NXS series not only meets the requirements, but exceeds them: indeed, recent tests have proven that the NXS system can withstand data rate application up to 50Gbps per bay requirements, including extreme levels of vibration, shock, and climatic testing above 2100 G.

NXS is equipped with the proven and well-known Hypertac® hyperboloid contact technology at the interface, ensuring the highest level of performance and reliability for critical applications. Multiple linear contact paths give low contact resistance which remains stable over the lifetime of the equipment, critical for space applications. Along with long term reliability, the Hyperboloid contact has low insertion and extraction forces, giving high durability and long life, as well as an immunity to shock and vibration.

The NXS interface contact, named ‘Micro-boloid’ has a male pin of nominal diameter 0.4mm. Its compact dimensions are designed for optimal signal density, whilst also being compatible with typical shielded twinax cable, PCB layout design and isolation between modules. Each product is engineered using 3D Electromagnetic Simulation (EM) software to provide excellent performance in a total thin film process.

NXS Series

Equipped with the Hypertac® hyperboloid contact technology the NXS system can withstand data rate application up to 50Gbps per bay requirements, including extreme levels of vibration, shock and climatic testing above 2100 G. The NXS Series is designed in a robust construction with 4 or 12 high speed quadrax (dual-twinax) modules.

NXS is built to the highest Space standards and qualified to rigorous testing and performance criteria:​ESCC 3401, ESCC 3402, ECSS-Q-ST-70C, ECSS-Q-ST-70-02, ECSS-Q-ST-70-08C, ECSS-Q-ST-70-38C and ECSS-Q-70-71.

Conclusion

The future is rapidly approaching, and the Space market is constantly evolving. Smiths Interconnect is ready to meet the challenges that this demanding environment presents, ensuring reliability and cutting-edge connectivity.

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