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Electronics news

Space Class Printed Circuit Boards

Printed circuit boards (PCBs) developed for spaceflight are subjected to mechanical stress, radiation, vacuum and extreme temperatures.

Space temperatures can range from -200°C in the shadow of a celestial body to over 200°C in direct sunlight. Space SRs require sophisticated thermal management techniques and specialized materials with a low coefficient of thermal expansion.

Structural damage to SRVs can occur as a result of vibrations during the launch phase. To mitigate these problems, shock absorbing mechanisms including flexible materials and conformal coatings are used. Flexible PCBs, consisting of polyimide, absorb vibration and noise more effectively than their rigid counterparts. Conformal coatings isolate the PCBs from physical impact.

Materials used in the fabrication of space PCBs have minimal outgassing properties. Polyimide and Teflon (PTFE), are often used due to their exceptionally low outgassing properties. These materials prevent contamination in the vacuum of space and contribute to the long-term reliability of electronic systems.

When designing space-grade PCBs, a delicate balance must be struck between size and functionality. By using multilayer PCBs, advanced miniaturization techniques and three-dimensional packaging solutions, engineers are able to maintain the required performance.