Johannes van Es

Challenges in satellite manufacturing reliability

9 May 2019, 15:20-16:00

It is needless to say that satellite reliability is important for technical and economical success of both the satellite operators and the satellite manufacturers. To be successful the only tools spacecraft engineers have are redundancy and reliability. The current practice in satellite reliability engineering is described according to the ESA standards.

Traditionally, ESA works according to the ESA ECSS product assurance standards with focus on safety and reliability analyses including EEE components and mechanical parts. Quantitative dependability and safety analyses are performed to assure mission success. Special challenges for space engineers are the severe radiation in space and the limited number of EEE components available to cope with this harsh environment. Obsolescence management is therefore standard for spacecraft electronics design to avoid re-design or expensive and lengthy test programmes to qualify alternative components. On-board flight software is a specific challenge due to the criticality for mission success and the large effort in documentation and testing to get the software qualified. The large focus on reliability and reliability predictions leads to low parts failures and a relatively high percentage of systematic failures from manufacturing, design deficiencies and software failures.

New challenges in the space market are the request for fast spin-in of new technologies and the upcoming large constellations. This requires new approaches and adaptations of the current practices for reliability prediction to assure the sustainability and affordability of future space systems.

Johannes van Es is the senior R&D manager of the Thermal Control Group within the Space Department of the national aerospace laboratory NLR. He is responsible for new system and component developments in satellite and aircraft thermal management. He was the project manager for the Tracker Thermal Control System (TTCS) development for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS02) and is now responsible for all pumped loop developments at NLR. He is also point of contact for the roadmap ‘Thermal Management and Cooling Systems’ to coordinate Dutch developments in S/C thermal management and streamline them with ESA developments.

Johannes van Es