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Smiths Interconnect’s contact technology launched on NASA Mars Perseverance Rover

30 October 2020

Hypertac hyperboloid contacts will help explore the Red Planet and seek signs of ancient microbial life.

NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, Mars Perseverance Rover was launched on 30 July 2020 and will touch down on Mars on 18 February 2021.  Designed to be the most sophisticated rover NASA has built, the Mars Perseverance Rover will use advanced systems to explore the diverse geological landscape, discover ancient habitats, gather rock and soil samples that will be returned to Earth and demonstrate cutting-edge technology for future human exploration.

Mars Perseverance Rover is loaded with state-of-the-art scientific instruments, advanced computational capabilities for landing, upgraded sensors, computers and algorithms. It will enable the Rover quickly and autonomously to realise its location on Mars and modify its course during descent. This technology will be able to provide invaluable assistance for both robotic and crewed missions landing on future planets and essential for future robotics and missions to Mars.

Smiths Interconnect provides the Mars Perseverance Rover with high performance ruggedised cPCI 2mm connectors addressing NASA’s need for a high-reliability connector solution to meet the mechanical, electrical and environmental performance requirements. Rigorous testing was performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for extreme environmental conditions, including thermal excursions, corrosive atmospheres, excessive shock and vibration, contact engagement/separation cycling, and other key NASA requirements. 

“Smiths Interconnect is proud to support the Mars Perseverance Rover with a connectivity solution specifically engineered and optimised to mitigate the effects of heat and shock and vibration, while maintaining exceptional levels of signal integrity,” said Paul Harris, VP Sales and Marketing, Smiths Interconnect. 

The cPCI 2mm connectors are based on Smiths Interconnect’s Hypertac hyperboloid contact technology, renowned for its immunity to shock, vibration and fretting.  Tested to high-level space and aerospace standards, the series delivers high performance in mission-critical applications,  such as military land systems, shipboard, spacecraft, and defence applications. 

The cPCI series is qualified to NASA GSFC: S-311-P-822 and assigned NASA Goddard part numbers. It provides:

• High-speed signal integrity up to 3.125 Gbps
• High-temp LCP insulators that meet NASA outgassing requirements
• Keying features to ensure proper and secure mating
• An integrated shield to maximise EMI/RFI leakage
• Compatibility with reflow soldering processes 
• Low insertion and extraction forces for reduced board strain and improved serviceability.

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