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Center Independent Research & Development: JPL IRAD

Qualified Electronics for Extreme Cold Environment (QEECE)

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Many high value targets in the solar system require exposing the spacecraft to extremely low temperature environments. Of special interest to NASA are missions to Ocean Worlds (Titan, Enceladus, Ganymede, Europa…) as well as permanently shadowed regions of the Moon, comets, and high latitude winters on Mars. Meeting the scientific goals of these missions relies on revolutionizing current spacecraft and instrument technologies to achieve long life, high resolution and sensitivity but with low mass and power requirements. Our goal is to formulate and demonstrate an extreme environment electronics characterization and modeling methodology to demonstrate the feasibility of utilizing selected commercial electronic components for in-situ operation during NASA’s missions to extremely cold environments.

Our objective is to formulate and develop extreme environment electronic characterization and modeling methodologies that quantify the extended operating range of commercial components. This will enable the development of qualified high reliability electronic components capable of in-situ operation during NASA’s missions to extremely cold environments. We have used a spacecraft subsystem as a pathfinder catalyst for validation and proof of concept demonstration of our objectives. The extended operating range of the candidate components identified through the smart search will be validated through empirical evaluation that includes temperature dependent electronic reliability experiments, low temperature radiation evaluation, life test and failure analysis studies . Based on our characterization, our collaboration partners at the University of Tennessee have begun to look at “macro-based” modeling and simulation techniques for estimating the extended performance of the candidate parts in extreme environment. 

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