Press Release

Hypertronics KA Connectors Selected for NASA’s Mission to Repair Hubble

By SpaceRef Editor
June 5, 2009
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Hypertronics Corporation, a Smiths Interconnect business and world-leading provider of high performance interconnect solutions for the most demanding applications; today announced that their KA MIL-DTL-55302 QPL’D Printed Circuit Board Connectors were on-board the Space Shuttle Atlantis mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).

The historic and successful Hubble Servicing Mission 4 concluded after almost 13 days with a trouble-free Space Shuttle landing on Sunday May 24, 2009. During a series of unprecedented spacewalks, astronauts replaced and repaired a total of four instruments. The Wide Field Camera 3 and Cosmic Origins Spectrograph were installed and the Advanced Camera for Surveys and Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph were successfully repaired, along with replacement of a number of components essential to the Hubble’s smooth functioning.

Hypertronics’ 320 pin KA series electrical connectors were originally selected for the HST to connect transmission power and processing signals between every instrument on-board and its associated motherboard. Hypertronics’ KA Series were selected because of their ease of use, extremely low insertion force and high reliability.

“The basic reason for selecting Hypertronics KA connectors for HST is the unique wire basket design that creates a 360 degrees point of contact,” comments Noman Siddiqi, Sr. Component Engineer, HST Project Part Engineer NASA. “The KA Connectors were identified from day one as the connector to use to ensure signal reliability and eliminate fretting which can be an issue with tuning fork style connectors.”

Hypertronics connectors are used in numerous other NASA programs including the Mars Science Lab, Solar Dynamics Observatory, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and many military applications that require unfailing performance under the harshest environmental conditions. Hypertronics Hypertac system is a unique contact design characterized by a wire basket technology which encapsulates a male pin and guarantees continuous signal integrity especially critical in space applications where repair is either impossible or cost prohibitive.

Hubble’s recent upgrade is expected to extend the iconic telescope’s life until 2014. In that same year, the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will launch. JWST will have a mirror almost three times that of Hubble’s and has selected the ultra reliable Hypertronics cPCI 2mm NASA certified space grade connectors.

SpaceRef staff editor.