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Interconnections in the Inhospitable

Interconnections in the Inhospitable: cabling solutions for the universe's harshest environments.

Humanity's ability to operate in harsh environments requires our technology and electronics to do so too. From temperatures as low as -89.2°C (184K) at the Vostok Research Station in Antarctica, to the scorching sun-facing 121°C (394K) of the International Space Station, electronics are not exempt from the consequences of extreme conditions. At least, not without some intelligent engineering.

Tekdata Interconnections, and its specialist division Cryoconnect, collaborate with our customers from across a broad range of sectors including military, defence, avionics, space, and varied scientific fields, to provide robust and reliable cabling and interconnect solutions for extreme and even hostile environments. Our innovative design allows for optimal performance under stresses far beyond those any human could survive: mechanical, chemical, radiative, and thermal. As a result we bring ideas into reality, meeting the demands of the increasingly complex scenarios on Earth and beyond our exosphere.

On Earth, hostile radiative environments born from hot-spots of nuclear waste are dotted around the globe. Marked off limits to humans, we have turned to our robotic allies to analyse and study these areas. Tekdata prides itself in collaborative efforts to produce bespoke cabling solutions able to roam areas brimming with radiation and buzzing in the Sieverts.

Even in less "extreme" environments such as air travel, technology allows humans to survive in relative comfort aboard both military and commercial aircraft, sheltered from the worst effects of speed, temperature, acoustic vibrations, and varying air pressure. Yet that very technology relies on cabling and interconnect solutions to function under those same effects, if not to a greater degree, but also withstand the challenges of operating under demanding environments of noxious gasses, fuels, lubricants, and moisture levels of varying salinity. Tekdata's unique Teksol moulded solutions are designed for performance under these conditions - across a wide range of temperatures, under duress of thermal shocks, and to FAR 25.853 flammability requirements. The material's behaviour and production processes allow for a variety of configurations and optimisation to suit each application, whilst remaining robust and flexible throughout its life cycle.

Jumping to beyond 400km from the planet's surface, the severity of the experience changes dramatically. During its launch on the Ariane 5 rocket, the James Webb Space Telescope will be subjected to static and dynamic loads up to 4.55G. As it then orbits at the second Lagrange point, its hot side will rise to 85°C (358K) as the opposite falls to -233°C (40K). Cryoconnect and its work with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems has brought to life massive harnesses linking the spacecraft's systems, supplying power and controlling data for the telescope's alignment. This expertise is one that also encompasses scientific instrumentation like cryogenic facilities, exploring the milli-Kelvins of the cold world and unique environments without leaving our own.

So, where would you like to go?

Article first published : 27/11/2018

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