Promo Satellite Systems Inokos Dreamstime

Coaxial-Cable Assemblies Withstand Spaceflight's Rigors

May 3, 2022
Smiths Interconnect’s latest coaxial-cable assemblies bypass lengthy qualification processes to serve commercial space applications.

The Overview

In its SpaceNXT QT Series of flexible coaxial-cable assemblies, Smiths Interconnect offers an interconnection product that's well-suited for a variety of commercial space designs.

Who Needs It and Why?

Space is an extremely demanding environment and getting products into it necessitates extensive—and equally demanding—qualification processes. The QT Series is part of Smiths Interconnect’s SpaceNXT initiative to create an entire range of highly reliable space products that eliminate the designer’s need to undertake these qualification processes.

The QT Series also responds to the engineers' demand for cable assemblies with more consistent electrical performance over higher frequencies, larger temperature extremes, and across higher volumes.

Often, the hunt for phase-stable cable assemblies for commercial space applications means choosing between high reliability with high cost and long lead times, and lower cost but with lower reliability. Sending a system into orbit or deep space with the latter is obviously risky. So, it's hoped that the SpaceNXT QT Series will bridge that gap by offering the high reliability these applications demand while keeping costs down.

Under the Hood

The SpaceNXT QT Series enhances phase stability over a wide range of temperatures found in space environments while meeting all NASA/ESA outgassing specifications when tested per ASTM E595. And it’s equipped with ETFE radiation-resistant jacket materials. This combination enables customers to enjoy the benefits of lower cost of ownership while improving system performance.

Offered in 0.065-in. (1.651 mm), 0.100-in. (2.54 mm), and 0.160-in. (4.064 mm) cable diameters, the SpaceNXT QT Series covers key performance characteristics at various frequency bands from dc to 50 GHz. The cable assemblies are built using a foam dielectric material that has much better attenuation than solid PTFE found in “RG” type cables and stabilizes phase change with orbital temperature changes. They’re offered with standardized testing sequences, reducing delivery times and overall cost of ownership.

All products have passed design verification, are assembled in a controlled environment, and rigorously tested per customer and industry application requirements.