Hypertronics space-grade interconnect plays role in NASA MSL landing on Mars

NASA MSL Curiosity rover
NASA MSL Curiosity rover

HUDSON, Mass., 31 Aug. 2012. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineers in Pasadena, Calif., selected and employed Compact PCI (cPCI) connectors from Hypertronics Corp., a Smiths Interconnect business and provider of interconnect solutions for demanding applications, on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover.

“A key ingredient in the complex technological mix that went into the Curiosity rover was the JPL requirement for robust space grade connectors that could guarantee signal reliability from liftoff to landing,” reveals a Hypertronics representative. The company’s cPCI connectors played “a pivotal role in providing flawless signal integrity throughout the mission.”

Hypertronics’ Hypertac contact technology underwent extensive pre-mission testing to ensure its ability to meet the signal reliability demands of the Mars mission. The MSL required technology with “the proven capability to perform flawlessly in extremely harsh environments,” describes the representative. JPL staff demanded an interconnect solution robust enough to handle the severe conditions of space flight and those on the surface of Mars.

Electrical connectors join single-board computers to a cPCI backplane bus architecture that functions as the central nervous system for the Curiosity rover, helping ensure signal integrity.

“Our connectors have undergone rigorous testing by JPL that involved extreme environmental conditions as well as extraordinary shock and vibration, and they have definitely lived up to their billing of fail-proof performance,” Hypertronics President Vadim Radunsky says.


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