A Wakeup Call: Industry Takes a Deep Dive into CubeSat ESD Integrity before Launch!


Published over 3 years ago in a little known newsletter called the "Consortium Connection," under the leadership of Bill Hogan, PhD (ret.), China Lake High Tech Consortium, Bob Vermilllion wrote a 4-page article on the critical need for ESD material integrity of small satellites (with a focus on Cubesats, PocketQubes, TubeSats, etc.) while consulting for a local CubeSat startup.


To download the article starting on page 2, please click on the CubeSat (succcessfully launched) photo above.


Over the years of testing ESD materials for a multitude of applications, Bob discovered that a growing number of static control consumables and items were failing standardized ANSI/ESD testing that ranged from antistatic polymers to vacuum formed trays, diptubes and storage containers for the protection of ultra sensitive devices.


For the 2010 NASA Annual Quality Leadership Forum (QLF), Bob Vermillion was the first to present and first to publish on ESD non-compliant and suspect counterfeit materials used in the DoD manufacturing sector.


Bob's independent findings from years of testing, auditing suppliers and conducting prime contractor assessments were surprising to aerospace & defense quality and management. Today, the testing of materials and polymer substrates, in particular, are evaluated for not only its electrostatic properties, but also for polycarbonate compatibility due to the serial outsourcing of highly valued materials for the electronics sector.


Attention to the proper use of engineered substrates from Small Sats to 3D printed products is getting a lot more press these days as SmallSat failures continue to be problematic for Industry and Government programs and projects.


Not only is flight hardware susceptible to catastrophic ESD events , but also ESD materials that encapsulate or protect the ultra sensitive device for packaging, material handling, storage and transport from siberian to saharan conditions.


Now enter the CubeSat - a very small profile architecture designed on an off-the-shelf platform of items commonly bought through Amazon or similar others as the very low cost investment to get a taste for "Space. " From the high school student to the PhD intern, the NASA research scientist will ultimately work on secondary payloads that measure the impact of space radiation on life forms such as bacteria, yeast and mice over long periods of time beyond the low earth orbit (LEO).


With awareness comes learning and with learning comes knowledge for what it takes to achieve mission success. The race to the Moon and to Mars will bring contracting opportunities to those that can meet the current and future need for material integrity of spacecraft in extreme temperatures and austere environments.™


Since 2009, RMV Technology Group LLC, a NASA Industry partner, is located onsite in the historic Building 19 and is now the largest privately held and most advanced ESD materials test laboratory on a NASA site. You can reach out to us by email, text or phone call. See contact details below.


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