I've been researching what drives the cost of spacecraft, to see why many spacecraft still use very antiquated electronics and power systems developed in the 1980's instead of up to date electronics and power systems. It seems the cost (I.E. man-hours) needed to qualify the new components outweighs the cost savings from buying off the shelf. I researched more deeply into why qualification testing is expensive, and it seems the main reason for high costs is the parts are put through a variety of what-if scenarios on Earth through simulated environments instead of just putting the part into the actual environment they'll be operating in.
That got me to thinking if cubesats could be launched with up-to-date parts to qualify them for use on future spacecraft by having them launch through the high vibration environment of a rocket, bake and cool in orbit, and deal with hard vacuum and radiation, taking advantage of being there instead of meticulously simulating it on the ground. The parts would be launched into orbit without the extensive ground qualification testing, instead doing a simple check to see if they work or not in orbit.
Now I understand I may be overestimating the cost of qualification testing, if this is, please correct this misunderstanding. But if it is very expensive, have cubesats been used to build up a list of new electronics, power systems, valves, etc. that have been proven to work in space through flights? Or would this be more expensive than testing them on the ground?