Space Connectors get tough for NASA’s Robotic Spacecraft


The most mission-critical of aerospace systems are the ones that journey into space, where they encounter the toughest environments. When they leave the Earth’s surface they must contend with huge radiation levels, vibration, shock and temperature extremes, making durability and reliability critical features of our connectivity components. Smiths Interconnect’s microwave RF (radio frequency) components, delivering high-reliability and connectivity performance, are used in the data and control transmission systems of the Parker Solar Probe, a NASA robotic spacecraft. It was launched in 2018, with the mission of repeatedly probing and making observations of the outer most part of the sun’s atmosphere. In 2024, it is expected to approach to within 3.83 million miles of the centre of the sun, achieving a top speed of about 430,000 miles (700,000km) per hour. That’s fast enough to get from Washington D.C. to Tokyo in under a minute. The Parker Solar Probe has just successfully completed its second close approach to the sun, the closest any other spacecraft has been before. For projects of such significance, Smiths Interconnect’s engineering expertise, superior technology and customer service enable our customers to push the limitations of what’s possible and help bring the boundaries of the universe a little closer.