In satellite applications, flexible printed circuit board has several advantages over rigid PCBs. The characteristics of FPC make it the best choice for space applications. Flex PCBs used in space applications operate under very harsh conditions. It is very important for designers to consider the following points before starting to use it for flexible PCB design for space applications.
1. Operating temperature
Although the FPC is not directly exposed to space conditions, the design of the FPC should be suitable for the internal environment of the space application. The choice of materials for this FPC has become critical. For space applications, materials with an operating temperature higher than 120°C should be selected.
2. Restrict deflation
Using FPC in a high-pressure vacuum environment may release gas trapped in the FPC during the manufacturing process. This gas leak will condense in other parts of the equipment. During operation under high-pressure vacuum, the application of heat on the FPC forces the gas out of the FPC, which is called degassing. By choosing materials with good heat resistance for FPC design, outgassing can be minimized.
3. Continuous orbital collision
The satellite revolves around the earth in a circular orbit. When flying around the earth, collisions between other celestial bodies are likely. Flex PCB should be able to withstand these tiny collisions. For this reason, the bending ability of the flexible PCB should be very high. Flexibility/bendability is an important factor to consider when designing a flexible FPC for space applications.
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