Spaceflight applications are becoming more prevalent in the mainstream market. As engineers of rockets, satellites, probes and other space-faring vehicles look to increase the reliability and efficiency of their machines, it’s crucial to ensure the cables are correctly optimized for their operating environment.
The effects of radiation exposure, temperature cycling, and polymer aging are just a few of the considerations to keep in mind when designing your cable. Some other cable design considerations common to the space industry:
- Lightweight: Lightweight, low-density plastic materials are used when possible.
- Temperature Cycling: The large temperature range induced in space from alternating patterns of exposure to the sun can result in a high degree of temperature cycling. Care should be taking in specifying materials that can withstand the extreme temperatures of an outer space environment.
- Electrical Requirements: Power rating, insertion loss, signal leakage, signal frequency, shielding, etc. are important considerations.
- Flexibility: The space industry is another example where flexibility can play a key role in cable design.
- Regulatory Requirements: Cables in the space industry are subjected to some of the strictest requirements in the business.
- Miscellaneous: Outgassing, radiation, chemical exposure should also be considered when designing your cable.