RF Testing in Space? How will that be Done?Randy Mitchell (VTech)
RF Testing in Space? That seems like a strange question. Certainly, RF Testing in space is not being done to any great extent at this time. RF testing is done on earth for the spacecrafts and their components to make sure that their delicate electrical systems work smoothly together in space.
RF testing in space seems like it could be a necessary thing to consider within the next decade. NASA’s Artemis Program will return humans to the Moon in 2024. The Artemis program ultimately aims for human colonization of the moon. NASA is looking at developing self-sustaining habitable modular lunar outposts. This lunar outpost project has a second purpose. The outposts on the moon could be used as “stepping stones” toward the goal of humans visiting Mars. Mars has long interested scientists as the nearby planet in our solar system that has all of the necessary conditions to allow human habitation.
At either of these space outposts, there would be many necessary uses for RF testing. The whole “self-sustaining idea” points to the need for manufacturing being done at these space outposts, as delivery from earth to Mars takes about six to eight months one way. That is a very long supply chain! First, this RF testing in space would be used to verify the In-Space Manufacturing (ISM) of new electronic equipment for use in, and support of the habitat. Second, the harsh conditions(vacuum and zero gravity), of space allows many products to be manufactured better in space than on the earth. The testing chamber could also be used as part of a “space laboratory” that provides an ambient-free environment for scientific experiments in manufacturing.
The chambers used to do this testing, much like the outpost itself, will not be classic “brick and mortar” RF testing chambers. The testing chambers would ideally be made out of lightweight materials, as weight is a prime concern when transporting supplies in space. Likewise, these testing chambers would be collapsible, and able to be stowed in a small space when not in use for RF testing, allowing the precious space that they occupy to be used for other purposes when testing is not being done.
In many ways, the ideal “Space” RF Testing Enclosure of TOMORROW is very similar to the RF Shielded Testing Enclosures that are available TODAY from V Technical Textiles, Inc. They are made of lightweight, highly conductive metalized textiles, able to be assembled easily, ready for use in a short period of time, but easily disassembled when not in use for testing, providing valuable space for other uses. Please feel free to contact us about our RF Shielded Testing enclosures if you would like to experience tomorrow’s technology today!
V Technical Textiles, Inc.