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30 May 2018

Smiths Interconnect releases the SpaceNXT™ Q series of flexible coaxial cable assemblies. The Q series is part of an initiative to create a comprehensive range of high performance, high reliability products for next generation space applications that addresses the growing commercial space market, prompted by a renewed interest in space exploration. By offering components that are pre-tested and qualified for space use, Smiths Interconnect is helping customers reduce their lead times.


Data transmission between various systems on a spacecraft is crucial to the success and safety of the mission. The cables used to transmit data have a direct impact on the quality of the signal and the time required for transmission. For example, if the cable system used for data transmission fails, the communication between the craft and mission control could be lost. Cable performance is based on reliability, durability and signal integrity, all of which can be compromised by electrical, mechanical and environmental stress.


Aboard spacecrafts, cables serve a number of uses. They help maintain signal integrity in applications such as antenna transmit and receive and high-frequency subsystem interconnects.


These versatile cable assemblies have low loss characteristics, are resilient to temperature variations and meet the rigorous outgassing requirements of NASA/ESA. In space-based equipment, released gas can condense on materials, degrading their performance or rendering them inoperative.  Low levels of outgassing require high-quality materials and well-controlled manufacturing processes. 


SpaceNXT™ Q cable assemblies are built using well-established manufacturing processes and combine stainless steel or beryllium copper connectors with silver plated copper cable conductors that are soldered directly for a robust cable-to-connector transition. They are assembled in a controlled environment, and each solder joint can be verified using a real-time X-ray inspection system.  Q cables can be validated for a wide range of requirements regarding Engineering Models and Flight Models either at Smiths Interconnect’s in-house test laboratories or one of our qualified external facilities.


The Q cable assemblies offer numerous enhancements over a qualified product list or commercial-off-the-shelf product because they are available as cut to length, have dual-terminated assemblies, are cost-effective and are pre-tested and qualified for the space orbit environment.


Paul Harris, VP of Sales & Marketing comments “The SpaceNXT™ Q cable assemblies benefit from Smiths Interconnect’s design expertise gained from over 30+ years of space heritage totaling over 150 satellite applications, and 40 miles of assemblies. They provide our customers with highly reliable technology and lower cost of ownership and enables operators to overcome potential market entry barriers while enjoying the benefits of an established technology partner.”


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