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Expanding the Frontier

03 June 2020

As Space Missions evolve, so do Smiths Interconnect’s light and compact connectivity solutions.

Space market covers a wide range of activities from commercial communications satellite, through location-based services to science and exploration initiatives – many of which are extremely evolving and high-value projects.

For space crafts which travel into deep space and visit other planets, the journey can take many months or even decades.

When they leave the Earth' s surface, they must contend with huge radiation levels, vibration, shock and temperature extremes. This means that manufactures of the equipment must push technologies and manufacturing capabilities to their limits to ensure that they will not fail during the journey. These harsh environmental conditions require space products and systems to be of exceptional performance, lightweight, rugged, reliable and durable.

In the space manufacturing industry, it’s critical that companies recognize these challenges and work attentively to follow industry evolutions.

For example, NASA’s Exploration program comprises a series of increasingly complex mission designed to lead the return of humans to the Moon, land people on Mars and visits new destinations deep in the solar system.

Nowhere does this matter more than in the development of NASA’s manned spacecraft Orion’s data transfer system, and the ability to withstand harsh environments, extreme vibration and transmit additional data to the ground support station.

Traditional data network’s used ‘paired-connector’ technology that would not withstand the length and rigorous journey of the planned missions. The extreme vibration would damage the points of contact, so they would be unlikely to last the duration of the mission.

Smiths Interconnect’s was recruited to help overcome this obstacle and evolve our connector technology to develop the ruggedized D-sub Miniature Connector, designed to withstand the high vibration and extreme temperature fluctuations faced in space .

The connectors make it possible for Orion’s data transfer system to transmit more data than the network used in previous missions while also eliminating extraneous signal noise.

Rugged D-Sub Connectors

Rugged D-Sub Connectors

Smiths Interconnect's twinax/quadrax D-Sub connectors provide robust high-speed performance compatible with existing qualified rugged D-Sub connectors.

  • Low RF noise and high durability over 500 mating cycles
  • Offered with 100 ohm quadrax or twinax contacts
  • higher bandwidth support up to 6.25 Gbps
  • Meet MIL-STD-202 requirements for shock and vibration

Furthermore, Smiths Interconnect was required not only to meet the primary functions of navigation and communications but to exceed these parameters by offering the safest and most high performing connectivity solutions available on the market.

In summary, whether you are in need for space applications, commercial communication satellites, manned space flights, or ground support equipment, technology is evolving with sophisticated, lightweight, durable and long-lasting connectivity solutions and components.

Decades of experience have positioned Smiths Interconnect well – both in designing and delivering active and passive connectivity solutions specifically engineered and optimized to mitigate the effects of heat, shock and vibration and to deliver unparalleled signal integrity, as well as reduced overall system size and weight that are essential in space applications.

 

 

 

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