Questions tagged [electronics]

Can refer to both electrical devices and electrical power sources for said devices (batteries, generators, etc) on spacecraft or launch vehicles. Use in conjunction with a specific spacecraft or vehicle tag.

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How does a fusible wire deployment mechanism work?

Situation Me and my student team are considering to use fusible wires in our CanSat to control the parachute and payload deployment. In detail, a mechanism using a fusible wire should release a loaded ...
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Are circuit diagrams available for the Voyager spacecraft telecommunications systems?

I'm particularly curious about the coherent transponder mode where the outgoing transmitted signal is phase-locked to the incoming received signal (prompted by @uhoh's recent question). This is a mode ...
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First multi-pin electrical connection made in vacuum in space? Was it a part of a docking maneuver? Were precautions against cold welding taken?

Wikipedia's Docking and berthing of spacecraft says that The first spacecraft docking was performed between Gemini 8 and an uncrewed Agena Target Vehicle on March 16, 1966. Were multi-pin electrical ...
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How many transistors do modern (2020) sattellite SPUs have?

After reading about Moore's law and the amount of transistors of CPUs on Earth, I learned that currently there are chips out there with roughly 50 billion transistors: (Image source: wikipedia) ...
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How can I become an astronaut?

For EU citizens to envisage a career in space, as an astronaut, the following ESA handbook gives details about the selection process. Similar information for US citizens can be found at this NASA site ...
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How did Sputnik 1's antennas couple to its body, electrically and mechanically?

Looking at https://www.britannica.com/technology/satellite-communication/Development-of-satellite-communication I found the image of a model of Sputnik 1 below. It shows details of its four rod ...
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First multiprocessor in space?

Similarly to The first transistors in space: Germanium or Silicon? What about in orbit? First LED left on another planet⁺ by humans? w/list of space electronic "firsts" questions First TTL ...
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First TTL chip in space and in orbit? Was it a 7400 series or something that predates?

Similarly to The first transistors in space: Germanium or Silicon? What about in orbit? First LED left on another planet⁺ by humans? w/list of space electronic "firsts" questions what was ...
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Are toggle- or rocker-type switches avoided in crewed areas of space stations to avoid getting accidentally bumped?

@OrganicMarble's answer to What's the small white gadget with two black buttons in this video of the International Space Station? includes the On/Off switch for cabin lighting aboard the ISS. There ...
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Why do satellites have capacitance? [closed]

In some comments on this forum I read that satellites have capacitance of some nF or pF, What is this about? How can I calculate it roughly?
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How are the electronic circuits in interplanetary missions protected from extremely low temperatures?

In an interplanetary mission, a spaceship travels through deep space, where the temperature is almost zero degrees Kelvin, and it is likely that its electronic circuits get permanently damaged. How ...
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Resources/guidelines on space electronics compliance?

Space hardware suffers from various effects such as radiation, heating, vibration, off-gassing, material degradation and so on. While these effects are mentioned in most space engineering books, I am ...
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How do they measure the voltage of the Moon?

@DavidHammen's answer to If a solar flare happened during a total lunar eclipse, would the Earth block the flare from hitting the moon? And for how long? describes the regular lashing of the Moon by ...
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If a solar flare happened during a total lunar eclipse, would the Earth block the flare from hitting the moon? And for how long?

I was making plans for a scifi story set in the aftermath of a Carrington Event-level solar flare, and I wondered if, in the case of a total lunar eclipse, the Earth would shield the Moon from the ...
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Has anyone developed a reliable deep space battery that doesn't need to be kept warm?

Has anyone developed a reliable battery for use in cold deep space applications? Something that doesn't need to be kept warm? For exampe lithium batteries certainly has its constraints due to the ...
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What makes Insight's RAD750 processor so radiation resistant? (compared to 1998 iMac's PowerPC 750)

Gizmodo's A 1990s iMac Processor Powers NASA’s Perseverance Rover references NewScientist and says: However, there’s a major difference between the iMac’s CPU and the one inside the Perseverance ...
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Can we power things (like cars or similar rovers) on earth in the same way Perseverance generates power?

I was watching a video on the engineering of Perseverance and it states that the rover is powered by 4.8kg of Plutonium Dioxide. I was wondering if that similar process of electricity generation can ...
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Venus probe with refrigerated electronics powered by an RTG (more like the Mars rovers)

Because of the very high surface temperatures on Venus (~450 oC) conventional semiconductor electronics will not work. Discussion of surface probes to Venus talk about using vacuum electronics, ...
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3 votes
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Are Solid State Hard Drives in space made from radiation-hardened FLASH memory, or do they just use older technology with higher voltage and charge?

Answers to Why is the James Webb Space Telescope's data storage space so small? have got me thinking. Solid State Hard Drives (SSDs) are usually made from FLASH memory though alternatives like ...
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What was the first satellite built with mostly COTS electronics?

Computers and memory, radios, cameras, light sensors, temperature sensors, accelerometers & gyros1, power supplies, power conditioners and converters and battery interfaces can all be put together ...
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How redundant are Orion's power and data units (PDUs)? Doubly? Quadruply? If so, why?

In the news today: NASA to skip repair of Orion electronics unit NASA will fly Orion deep-space crew capsule ‘as is,’ despite failed component; The agency claims there is enough redundancy in the ...
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What is the bandwidth (in hertz) of the Voyager 2 radio receiver?

Does anybody know the bandwidth of the Voyager 2 radio receiver's front-end? I know that the current data rate of the receiver is of order tens of bits per second, and I have one estimate of 18 Hz. ...
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Is it common and good engineering for a pair of cables to be easily plugged into each other's connectors in modern spacecraft

Space News's Human error blamed for Vega launch failure Analysis of the telemetry from the mission, along with data from the production of the vehicle, led them to conclude that cables to two thrust ...
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Vacuum tube microchips for Venus probe; feasibility and challenges?

Venus surface temperature is around 460 °C which makes conventional semiconductors useless. So nasa proposed a clockwork rover, drawing power from wind and using springs and gears to navigate the ...
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What coatings are used for printed circuit board protection in space?

Which coatings are better for printed circuit board (PCB) protection in space environment?
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First LED left on another planet⁺ by humans?

Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs are ubiquitous now, but I still remember riding my bike to Radio Shack and buying my first LED, checking the diagram on the back of the package, and getting a battery and ...
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Highest DC voltage ever intentionally produced in space?

Comments on the page Maximum grid voltage of ion thruster got me wondering; what is the highest DC voltage ever intentionally produced by a spacecraft in space? Photomultiplier tubes and micro-channel ...
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Semi-feasible alternates to silicon electronics for a Von Neumann Probe?

Disclaimer: this is a modified cross-post of my post on the Worldbuilding SE site, adapted to better fit the Space Exploration community. Some background A Von Neumann Probe (VNP) is a sci-fi probe ...
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Rocket Engine - Actuator in Loop Simulations

For Actuator-In-Loop simulations, why are the rocket engine nozzles along with the thrust vector control assembly (including the actuators) kept inverted on a platform like in the attached image or as ...
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Why was 65 volts used for ground support equipment?

This article claims that Apollo ground support equipment used 65 V for electrical power, and may have been involved with the cause of the Apollo 13 explosion: The oxygen tanks had originally been ...
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Using recent technology, how much electrical power could a nuclear reactor launchable by a low-level heavy-lift vehicle be developed to produce?

The main purpose behind asking this question is to ascertain the potential power-to-weight ratio of reactors built using modern-derivative technology (i.e. either Generation III derivatives or ...
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3 votes
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How many "main" batteries does the ISS have? How many are still nickel-hydrogen?

CBS News's Third all-female spacewalk completes job of swapping out batteries says: NASA is in the process of replacing 48 older-generation nickel-hydrogen batteries in the station's solar power ...
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Are the Electronic Tools used in the ISS and in the NBL same or different?

Most of the time, we see astronauts carrying electronic tools like power drills during an EVA. They undergo training in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) for the same. Are the electronic tools used in ...
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7 votes
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Which type of Power Plug do we use on the ISS?

The following map shows the different types of power plugs and sockets used by countries all over the world: The International Space Station (ISS) is a joint project between five participating space ...
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What form of Electric Current Powers Spacecrafts - Alternating Current (AC) or Direct Current (DC)?

Almost all spacecrafts launched by humanity consist of electrical components which require electricity to run. Usually, spacecrafts are either powered by a Solar Panel or using Radioisotope ...
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12 votes
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How are differences in electrical potential between docking (or berthing) vehicles mitigated?

Different vehicles can have several hundred or even several thousand volts difference between their baseline electrical potentials. How do they ensure that upon first contact, there isn't a massive ...
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How are astronauts in the ISS protected from electric shock?

On Earth, most of the electrical appliances having exposed metal parts, such as electric iron, are grounded, to protect the user from electric shock when an uninsulated-wire accidentally comes into ...
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4 votes
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How does Deep Space Network's DSS-14 transmit radar and receive it at (almost) the same time? (monostatic radar)

@Hobbes' concise yet thorough answer to the question What are monostatic radar observations, and how will Deep Space Network's DSS-13 be used to observe asteroid 1999 WK4's flyby of Earth? tells us ...
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How are electrical connectors on the ISS protected from humidity and contaminants?

Early concepts of Apollo had a single computer that was to be unplugged and moved between the CM and LM. This idea was soon abandoned because of contaminant buildup in the connectors: Electrical ...
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Are all DC motors on the inside of the ISS brushless?

Considering the number of motors on the ISS used in pumps, fans, actuators and robots, are there rules against brushed motors, motors with electrical brushes which can make particulate matter? Based ...
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What are the ISS's eight "power channels"? How do they work?

c|net's NASA troubleshoots mysterious ISS power issue links to the NASA Blog post Crew Waits for Dragon Mission While Teams Troubleshoot Power Issue which says: Monday morning, teams identified an ...
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How does electrical safety system work on ISS?

Is there any possibility that the power consumption is greater than power supply on ISS? What happens (or potentially would happen) if we plug too many electric devices so that ISS couldn't handle it? ...
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Why latest Landsat satellites have solar panel on only one side?

It is normal for satellites to have solar panels on both sides of the body. But Landsat satellites, from Landsat 4, seems to have the solar panel on only one side. Are there any specific advantages ...
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Is it possible to protect a Cubesat's electronics from 100g of acceleration?

I am currently researching the feasibility of setting up a coilgun that launches Cubesats for a paper. 1 cubesat per launch total payload mass <100kg.
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8 votes
1 answer
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How are cubesat electronics protected against the effects of radiation in LEO?

I'm curious to know the various ways that cubesat electronics can be protected from the effects of cosmic rays or solar events while in LEO. How different are the components used in cubesats from some ...
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Function and nature of the RHC/LCH pair of cables to New Horizons's dish antenna secondary mirror?

Spaceflight 101's New Horizons Spacecraft Overview is full of interesting information and shows this RF Comm System Block Diagram. The thin (red) lines to the dish antenna area are coaxial cables and ...
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How much wax is on the Moon? (Lunar Roving Vehicles)

I found the Cody's Lab videos from Scott Manley's video as described in this answer. Browsing through I learned from the first 30 seconds of Hot Wax Bottle? that the phase change of wax was used on ...
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3 votes
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Did any of Voyagers' receivers' front ends take advantage of the "cold of space" to lower noise? (communications or radio/plasma science receivers)

Most of the Voyagers' electronics are kept warm by electrical heaters powered by their RTG's, and presumably protected by some amount of insulation from the "cold of space" which means loss ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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How did Syncom-3 achieve eight stages of frequency doubling? I only see seven in the block diagram

@BlueCoder's nice answer to Syncom-3 was the first geostationary satellite. Anyone know of a description of the onboard electronics? mentions that the the master oscillator was doubled eight times to ...
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Syncom-3 was the first geostationary satellite. Anyone know of a description of the onboard electronics?

I am interested in any description of the electronics on Syncom-3, the first geostationary satellite. I've been able to find quite a bit of general information. There was a pair of 2 Watt TWTs and ...
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