A satellite orbiting Earth every 90 seconds cycles from extreme heat to extreme cold temperatures over and over. Whether you’re building a satellite for low-Earth orbit or an assembly for deeper space missions, temperatures, radiation, and the environmental vacuum of space pose unique challenges to electronic assemblies.
MilesTek has designed and produced a range of vacuum-rated cable assemblies tested and qualified to perform in this exact harsh space environment. With the fast-paced shift to commercial and New Space programs, cost-effective assemblies ready to perform in space aren’t just for NASA anymore.
Outgassing and Vacuum Testing
MilesTek made its vacuum-rated cable assemblies with NASA and space applications in mind. The assembly materials must pass testing and meet long-standing requirements for outgassing and total mass loss before they are launched on a satellite.
As with other components, the loss of air pressure in the vacuum of space combined with extremely high and low temperatures can force small amounts of gas out of component materials. Even small amounts of gas in that environment can condense on sensors, lenses, and mirrors to impair visibility or performance.
To prevent outgassing, MilesTek tests its cable assemblies in a thermal vacuum chamber. After cycling the materials through extreme temperatures and vacuum conditions, total mass loss (TMP) measurements are made. Cable assemblies must meet NASA requirements for both outgassing and TML to be considered vacuum-rated. These assemblies perform in temperatures from -55° C to 200°C.
The Full Assembly: Cables, Jackets, and Connectors
As a vacuum-rated cable assembly, every part must be capable of supporting performance. MilesTek’s assemblies include the cable, with special jacketing, and the connector.
For mil-aero applications, MilesTek cables use a twinaxial design with an impedance of 78 ohms. The cable is protected by a UV-resistant PFA jacket to achieve the extreme temperature performance. MilesTek offers four different connector options that use bayonet and threaded mounts to keep cables connected through shock and vibration.
Delivering to Meet the Pace of Space
With new commercial and low-Earth orbit space and new space programs competing for launch schedules, we hear from our customers about the challenges of keeping up with production pace. Current supply chain demands are also pushing out lead times for other space components. But MilesTek’s production model makes sure cable assemblies are in stock and ready for same-day shipping.
Spirit Electronics is MilesTek’s only authorized U.S. distribution partner. With access to MilesTek stock and the ability to manage your component pipeline ahead of your production demands, Spirit can deliver vacuum-rated cable assemblies along with your full bill of materials. For more interconnect products available through Spirit Electronics, download the MilesTek product catalog.