The environment where space-grade radiation product design standards must be met.

Adhering to Space-Grade Radiation Product Design Standards for Electronics

The aerospace and defense industry is among the most regulated when it comes to developing PCBAs and electronics—and for good reason. The successful operation of modern space vehicles hinges on the extensive reliance on electronics. After all, board failures can compromise mission success or lead to more catastrophic results, such as destroyed platforms and the loss of life.

Radiation poses a significant threat to aerospace PCBA reliability. This hazard can originate from an external source such as the sun, for example, or stem from radiating components and energy systems. Therefore, it is important to understand the effects of radiation on electronic devices and how to implement space-grade radiation product design standards to mitigate them.

PCBA Development Space Standards to Know

Circuit boards and electronics are critical for the functionality of virtually all systems aboard aircraft, satellites, and other spacecraft. Moreover, they typically cannot be repaired and/or replaced during missions. As a result, aerospace tends to have higher standards for design and manufacturing than other industries. This includes an increasing emphasis on aerospace PCBA safety.

During the Space Race, NASA set many of the standards for aerospace electronic systems. For example, original component manufacturers were required to register their companies and list their components on the NASA Parts Selection List (NPSL). Additionally, all PCBA and electronics development must have met quality standards established by the following publications.

Important Aerospace Standards for Electronic Products

  • ➢ ISO 9001
    ISO 9001 is a quality management standard that places an emphasis on administration and customer satisfaction through which organizations can obtain certification. Although entities from any industry can apply to and receive this certification, failing to do so may result in the inability to supply products to aerospace industry companies. ISO 9001 is the latest in a series of standards, the ISO 9000 Series, that delineate quality product development. These standards include guidance and requirements for design, component selection, manufacturing, testing, and ongoing risk management.
  • ➢ AS9100
    Similar to ISO 9001, this standard is concerned with quality management system creation, function, and improvement. However, AS9100 specifically targets the defense and space sectors. Many aerospace organizations require that all participants in a product supply chain (component suppliers, engineers, designers, PCBA manufacturers) are certified and adhere to the requirements specified within this document.

In addition to satisfying the QMS standards above, it is also important that your aerospace PCBA development process incorporates a strategy that mitigates radiation hazards and ensures optimized performance and durability for the entire duration of the board’s operational lifecycle.

Meeting Space-Grade Radiation Product Design Standards for Your Design

Today, there are a wide range of entities involved in developing aerospace platforms. In most cases, these organizations develop space-grade radiation product design standards for electronics based on their missions and performance criteria. A single document that quantifies specific radiation tolerance levels doesn’t exist; however, there are practices that, if followed, will assist you in building boards that meet the high-reliability standards required for aerospace and defense systems applications.

PCBA Manufacturing for Extreme Environments - Part 2

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How to meet space-grade radiation product design standards for electronics 

  • Know the applicable radiation standards
    The amount of radiation and its impact varies with atmospheric deployment, the type of mission, and specific onboard systems. However, FCC Title 47 regulations exist for mitigating radiation that originates from PCBAs. This non-ionizing radiation is often referred to as EMI, EMC when the environment is affected, or simply as noise when it’s not. It can, however, completely disrupt the operations of your boards, causing unpredictable results in the process.
  • Design for extremes
    Designing your PCBA for the extreme conditions it may face helps ensure reliability in the field across a broad range of use cases.
  • Only use verified, high-quality components
    Aerospace and defense applications require high-performance electronics. To achieve this, take all reasonable steps to avoid counterfeit components.
  • Partner with an experienced, space-grade certified PCBA manufacturer
    Working with an experienced contract manufacturer (CM) familiar with the challenges and solutions for space-grade radiation product design standards helps ensure that your PCBAs meet rigorous defense and aerospace industry requirements.
Tempo's Custom Avionics for PCB Manufacturing Service
  • AS9100D and IPC J-STD-001E with Space Addendum certified manufacturing processes.
  • ISO-9001, IPC-600 and IPC-610 commitment to quality certifications.
  • Execute your full development cycle from proto to validation, NPI, and low volume production.
  • Accurate quote in less than a day.
  • DFX support, including DFM, DFA, and DFT from Day 1 of design.
  • Entire turnkey PCB manufacturing in as fast as 4 days.
  • Extreme space environment targeted manufacturing.
  • Use reputable components suppliers to ensure quality, security and traceability.
  • Performs multiple automated inspections during PCB assembly to ensure quality for prototyping.

Major aerospace companies prefer partnering with Tempo Automation. We hold ISO 9001 and AS9100 certification and have successfully built boards that are currently deployed beyond earth’s atmosphere, on the moon, and on mars.

Tempo employs a white-box turnkey PCBA manufacturing process that promotes collaboration and transparency between engineers and CMs. This allows us to quickly deliver high-quality boards for both standard and non-standard designs that meet energy industry criteria for prototyping and on-demand production. We also provide downloadable DRC files in Altium Designer, Cadence Allegro, Mentor Pads, other CAD formats, and Excel.

If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on the role of electronics in aerospace systems, contact us.

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