Satellite communications are already an indispensable part of global infrastructure, enabling real-time data transmission anywhere on earth and into space. As commercial industries increasingly work to advance and expand connectivity with powerful new 5G technology, space-based platforms and satellites will become an even more critical part of the global 5G network.
However, 5G has defined specifications in space, and the unique requirements of space technology are especially challenging for several reasons, including the need for durability in harsh environments. All the communications equipment must function continuously without hands-on maintenance. The performance requirements and technical specifications are also critical.
Designing a crucial interconnect system that will perform well and withstand the extraordinary environmental and technical conditions of space, reliably and consistently over long periods of time, is not like designing just any interconnect. Cable assemblies used in spacecraft need to brave high shock and vibration, extreme temperatures, and intense radiation. In addition, satellites have limited space for equipment so minimizing size and weight are also key goals. Cable assemblies must be designed to perform reliably while taking up the smallest footprint possible.
The cables, connectors and RF solutions deployed in space are integral components enabling industry to successfully move satellites, enable earthbound communications and to transmit information contributing to climate science, global security, communications relays between continents, high-speed Internet, and more. The enormity of global connection and data sharing needs is growing by the day—and the communication infrastructure’s performance is vital.
Key considerations for optimizing RF interconnect systems, selecting the right technologies, and accommodating the unique requirements of deployment in space are discussed below.
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