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Revolutionizing Space Component Engineering: Smiths Interconnect's Space Qualification and Rapid Engineering Laboratory

Smiths Interconnect Space Laboratory


Smiths Interconnect recently announced its successful bid for approximately £2 million in funding from the UK Space Agency's 'Space Clusters Infrastructure Fund' (SCIF). This significant grant, with another £2 million in matched funding by Smiths Interconnect, will help fortify Smiths Interconnect's position in the international space sector by enhancing its Space Qualification Laboratory in Dundee, Scotland. The space qualification laboratory plays a pivotal role in simulating the harsh conditions of space, ensuring the quality and durability of space components.

Advancing Space Testing Capabilities

The laboratory, which replicates extreme conditions such as vibration, shock, and temperature variations experienced during space missions, will undergo substantial enhancements that will help reduce the time-to-market and manufacturing costs of critical radio frequency (RF) and optical components, essential for deep space communication and on-board data transfer.

A core objective for Smiths Interconnect is to streamline manufacturing processes through the development of in-house digital manufacturing capabilities. The infusion of automation in manufacturing, assembly, and testing processes will scale up production, offering a one-stop-shop for qualification and testing of Smiths Interconnect's products worldwide.

Key Features of the Enhanced Laboratory

The Space Qualification laboratory already supports a comprehensive suite of test capability to simulate the rigors of space, including survival under extreme vibration and shock environments during launch and within orbit (up to 5000g levels), extreme temperature swings under hard vacuum at varying power levels, plus a rare set of capabilities and experience to assess complex Rf-induced effects that include Corona discharge, Multipaction and electrical interference (EMC) testing.

This laboratory capability will be further enhanced with the available funding to include automated Thermal Shock testing, Random Vibration testing capability to 120 GRms levels for more demanding profiles, additional RF amplifiers to extend RF power testing capability to Q, V and E-bands, additional equipment to extend EMC reverb chamber testing to V and E-bands plus the introduction of Optical Test Capability to better support our European transceiver product customers.

Looking Ahead

Smiths Interconnect's success in securing funding underscores its dedication to pushing the boundaries of space technology. As the laboratory continues to evolve, receiving further investments over the coming years, Smiths Interconnect solidifies its position as a leading force in the space industry. The enhancements in testing capabilities and digital manufacturing signify a promising future for the company and its contributions to the global space exploration landscape.

Smiths Interconnect on ITV News Scotland

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