Interconnection


Axon connectors raise a SMILE in space

25 November 2020 Interconnection

The European Space Agency (ESA) recently added Axon’s high-speed MicroMach SpaceWire links into the European Preferred Parts List, making it the only company to be EPPL2 listed for this range of products, according to Axon. Compact and robust, this impedance-matched, high-speed connector is capable of data rates well in excess of typical SpaceWire performance, even up to 3 Gbps.

As data rates and EMI requirements increase in spacecraft computer networks, MicroMach was initially developed for optimised SpaceWire performance, but can equally be used for other protocols, such as SpaceFibre, Wizardlink, TT-Ethernet and XAUI. Qualified by ESA, the MicroMach range includes equipment connectors, saver connectors and accessories, all based on the generic ESCC 3401 specification. In addition, MicroMach cable assemblies have been evaluated by ESA based on the brand new, high data rate ESCC3409 generic specification.

Raising a SMILE

MicroMach, which has been developed under an ESA Technology Development Element, has already been selected for its first ESA mission: SMILE. The Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer, or SMILE, is a joint mission between the ESA and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). SMILE aims to build a more complete understanding of the Sun-Earth connection by measuring the solar wind and its dynamic interaction with the magnetosphere. The MicroMach connector will be used together with another successful Axon’ development for ESA – the Low Mass SpaceWire cable – to provide on-board SpaceWire links with optimised performance versus weight capability.


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