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A new era in Space Electronics

This Planet Analog blog is the ‘Anchor’ page to a Special project on Space Electronics that will cover such key areas as radiation shielding and mitigation for space passenger safety, advances in microcircuits with reduced size and weight using Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) plastic encapsulated microcircuits (PEM), EMI in Space, Rad hard testing of ICs for Deep Space with simulation of the space environment, vision-based sensing for autonomous spacecraft with specialized algorithms translating raw images into data for vehicle control, and Trends in Designing Space Electronics: From Traditional Payloads to NewSpace Applications.

The development of reusable rockets is lowering barriers to both scientific and commercial exploration of space, stimulating increasing interest and investment in space electronics. We will provide designers with a look at the technologies and design practices needed for creating space-worthy electronic designs. These may include, but not be limited to ICs, ASICs, flex-cable, connectors, thermal management for electronics, Rad hard techniques, space-related testing methods, Apollo 1960s electronics and more.

Here are some of the upcoming launches of commercial spacecraft that will be changing the landscape of space exploration:

Space X is launching its 17th Dragon Cargo spacecraft on the Falcon 9 rocket to re-supply the International Space Station (ISS) this year from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Dragon Cargo spacecraft on the Falcon 9 rocket

Dragon Cargo spacecraft on the Falcon 9 rocket

Northrup Grumman has the Antares rocket with their Cygnus re-supply spacecraft and will launch their 10th cargo re-supply mission this year from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Northrup Grumman has the Antares rocket with their Cygnus re-supply spacecraft

Northrup Grumman has the Antares rocket with their Cygnus re-supply spacecraft

In the next major step to send astronauts to the Moon once again, under Space Policy Directive-1, NASA has announced plans to work with American companies to design and develop new reusable systems for astronauts to land on the lunar surface. NASA is planning to test new human-class landers on the Moon beginning in 2024, with the goal of sending crew to the surface by 2028.

We are going back to the Moon to get to Mars

We are going back to the Moon to get to Mars

Nine U.S. companies were selected through NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) in November 2018, and are currently developing landers to deliver NASA payloads to the Moon’s surface. As Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) providers, they are pre-authorized to compete on individual delivery orders.

This article is part of the AspenCore Special Project on Space Electronics. Check out these other articles from the Space Electronics project from my Editor colleagues:

EMC in Space: The James Webb Space Telescope

The Convergence of Traditional and New Space Electronics Solutions

AI and Machine learning: Shaking up the space industry

A brief history of electronic reliability in space — including today’s risks and how to mitigate them

Changing trends in designing space electronics

Safe and Affordable Space Travel Starts With Sourcing

Mission Critical Space Flight Systems Stay Rad Hard

More articles on this topic

SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut: A chance meeting in the desert

Blue Origin at Kennedy Space Center

NASA is 60 years old and is now a Spaceport

NASA’s launch complex 39B: Paving our path to Mars

5 comments on “A new era in Space Electronics

  1. Homer
    April 11, 2019

    There is no more 2028. The new hard deadline for return to the Moon has been set to 2024 by Pence. It is either that, or NASA will be replaced in that task, and NASA was put on notice. The full video recording of that event is available online.

  2. Steve Taranovich
    April 11, 2019

    @Homer—that announcement came only two days ago and my article was finished  just before that announcement came out and set to post today.

    I hope the date is true—I am wary of political statements by possible candidates for the Presidency. The 60s space program was well-funded and we feared that the Russians would beat us to the Moon—that would have been a strategic scientific coup as well as a strong possible military coup.

    I am hoping that the politicians/Congress sticks to this schedule, but you never know with another Presidential election coming up next year!

    There is still a chance that other nations may get to the Moon first if we do not push this effort forward for the US and that would again be a potential strategic scientific coup as well as a strong possible military coup for other nations.

  3. Homer
    April 12, 2019

    Political risks aside, the fortunate difference this time is the grand back-up plan that is SpaceX. That essentially confines technical risks to the orbital transfer and lunar parts of the project, and NASA can still do those things fairly well. The only possible competitor for the Lunar return could possibly be China, but they have their own plan, schedule, and will not be rushed by anyone, hence 2024 appears to be competition-free. All that is probably why Pence changed the deadline.

  4. Steve Taranovich
    April 12, 2019

    @Homer—I agree. SpaceX is doing an amazing job. They have a billionaire that decides how to fund the company; NASA has Congress.

    China is up there on the dark side of the Moon. That's an omen

  5. Steve Taranovich
    April 13, 2019

    NASA just announced that SpaceX will fly its Double Asteroid Redirection Test  (DART) planetary-defense mission. The total launch cost for NASA will be about $69 million.The Falcon 9 will be the launch vehicle and planned launch is June 2021.

    This is not the first mission of its kind—Japan's Hayabusa2 probe smashed a copper ball into the Ryugu space rock to unearth untouched subsurface material for study.

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