Author Topic: Electronics in space  (Read 871 times)

Offline TheDreamer

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Electronics in space
« on: 01/31/2011 04:48 AM »
I have been wondering for a while about how electronics are effected in space and what can be done to combat any adverse effects.

My dream, get a homemade satellite into space. Maybe land something on the moon on a tight budget. I don't need people telling me how impossible of an idea this is to accomplish, I simply came for answers.

The only thing I know is that in a weather ballon rig that was let loose a camera gave out after about an hour and a half due to battery complications or something of the sorts, this just made it into the stratosphere...

Thank you all!

Online docmordrid

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Re: Electronics in space
« Reply #1 on: 01/31/2011 04:57 AM »
Step one: radiation hardening....

The poor mans way to radiation hardening is to use larger scale logic chips like 286, 386, 486 processors etc. They tend to be less affected by ionization than the modern small scale logic.
« Last Edit: 01/31/2011 05:09 AM by docmordrid »
DM

Offline Jorge

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Re: Electronics in space
« Reply #2 on: 01/31/2011 05:11 AM »
I have been wondering for a while about how electronics are effected in space and what can be done to combat any adverse effects.

My dream, get a homemade satellite into space. Maybe land something on the moon on a tight budget. I don't need people telling me how impossible of an idea this is to accomplish, I simply came for answers.

The only thing I know is that in a weather ballon rig that was let loose a camera gave out after about an hour and a half due to battery complications or something of the sorts, this just made it into the stratosphere...

Thank you all!

Depends to some extent on where you want to put the electronics. Electronics in a pressurized spacecraft face fewer issues than electronics in vacuum. The Russians had all kinds of issues developing vacuum-rated electronics so they often simply put the electronics in a pressure vessel even for unmanned spacecraft.

Thermal control is a big issue for both. Electronics in vacuum usually use some kind of fluid cooling (e.g. water) while pressurized electronics can use either forced-air cooling or fluid cooling. In very cold environments (e.g. lunar night side) heating is also required.

Radiation is an issue, how much depends on how heavily the electronics are shielded and what kind of orbit the spacecraft is in. LEO is relatively benign, the Van Allen belts can get fairly nasty, beyond LEO is worse than LEO but not as bad as the Van Allen belts. Effects can range from single-event upsets (bitflips) to single-event latchups and single-event burnouts (permanent damage). Newer electronics are more vulnerable to this as process size continues to shrink. Laptop PCs on the shuttle and ISS lock up fairly frequently due to SEUs, while the older computers used to control the shuttle and station rarely have such problems.
JRF

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