RF in Space: 5 Steps to Find the Best Interconnect Supplier Webinar


Searching and qualifying an RF interconnect supplier for space applications can be a lengthy and costly process. Some suppliers offer standard qualifications and documentation for basic products in hopes of simplifying this process. But nothing is standard, or easy, in space. In this session, Maria explains the 5 steps for evaluating an RF partner’s capability to handle the custom designs, special testing and qualifications required in space.

Watch the video or read the session notes below.

Session Notes

Designing a crucial interconnect system that will perform well and withstand the extraordinary environmental and technical conditions of space, reliably and consistently over long periods of time, is not like designing just any RF interconnect system. The conditions encountered in space are unique and require special, highly customized solutions to prevent failure.

Custom designs, special testing and qualifications, and new product development for space applications require experience and commitment. “Standard” RF systems are not good enough in space. It’s important to thoroughly evaluate the capabilities of an RF supplier to ensure a positive outcome.

5 Steps to Find the Best RF interconnect Supplier

To ensure the best possible performance for these special applications, as expediently and cost-effectively as possible, consider your RF partner’s:

  1. Qualifications and heritage
    Many suppliers offer a good list of standard qualifications, but in space, your requirements may be unique. Look for partners that have experience in space, and in other areas such as military and defense.
  2. Dedicated technical experts
    Always ask to speak with technical experts. The complexity of space applications requires an effective partnership; choose a supplier that will work collaboratively as an extension of your design team. You’re not looking for a standard solution, so it’s important that your RF supplier’s technical team asks questions and listens to understand your unique needs. Don’t work with a supplier that’s committed to selling you the same product they’re selling everyone else. Your supplier should help you understand the electrical and mechanical trade-offs particular to your application, as well.
  3. Breadth of products
    A provider that offers a broad range of products is simply better equipped to sell you the right system for your application. You want to be able to select the right material, choose from multiple cable constructions, various connector designs (low power, high power, etc.) and assembly techniques, all from the same supplier. Plenty of technical standards must be met for products to be deployed in space, such as using only acceptable materials or mil-spec cable constructions. There is, however, no standard for how to apply these materials to construct an RF solution that is reliable time after time. That is where your supplier’s expertise and access to a full range of product options are needed.
  4. Manufacturing execution
    Ideally your supplier has all the technology and products you need and understands how to put them together into a final product. The next qualification to consider is the supplier’s manufacturing operations. Does the company have robust facilities and processes to support execution? Cleanroom manufacturing capabilities are key. Traceability is also important for managing all the piece parts that make the complicated assemblies. What quality standards does the supplier follow? What about extended services?
  5. Agility
    Be sure to choose an RF partner that is strong enough, financially and operationally, to deliver and survive through turbulent times. The last year has proven just how important it is to always remain agile and adaptable, in business and in life. Bad things sometimes happen. Can your supplier adjust quickly? The right partner will flex with you to deliver the value you need, every time.

All five selection criteria are tied to crucial performance capabilities, so consider their importance when evaluating potential RF suppliers. Choose wisely and enjoy a successful outcome that lasts.

To hear the full detail provided in the webinar, register now!


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About the author

Maria Calia Senior Program Manager

Maria Calia is Director of Space and Missiles at Times Microwave Systems. Her expertise includes mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, hardware engineering, project management, conveying systems, RF microwave, and more. Maria earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Drexel University.