Aerospace and Defense4 Step Guide to Manufacturing Electronics for Space Applications

The space industry is constantly evolving with new innovations and technologies emerging every day. However, for innovators and disruptors, scaling up manufacturing for space applications can be a daunting challenge. Ensuring that production meets growing demand without compromising quality and reliability is crucial.

Inadequate scaling of manufacturing can lead to costly delays and missed opportunities. With our expertise and your innovative ideas, we can work together to take your designs from concept to launch and beyond. Our streamlined production processes enable you to meet the industry growing demands with ease and avoid unnecessary pitfalls. We take pride in bringing your products to market quickly and efficiently, without ever sacrificing quality or reliability.

If you're a new-space company or disruptor looking to take your missions to the next level, we have the expertise to help. Here are four proven steps to scale up your missions.

Space product development step 1: Knowing your market approach.

Traditional approaches in the space industry have been effective at minimizing risk, but they can be time-consuming, costly, and document-heavy. The shift to the "New Space" era has brought changes to the industry. The need to launch satellites into LEO within a shorter timeline while minimizing costs has led to a more balanced approach between development and qualification time, NRE (Non-recurring expenses), product cost, and residual risk.

To achieve this balance early on in the project definition stage, a risk-based approach should be employed to assess the system architecture, mission profile and targets to determine the acceptable level of risk. FMEA and FMECA are useful tools for identifying potential failure modes, their effects and criticality. Conducting these analyses will help identify the required design margins and ensure compliance with relevant qualification requirements.

By adopting this approach, tradeoffs can be managed effectively to allow for efficient development and testing while minimizing costs and risks. Partnering with experienced suppliers can ease the process of making these tradeoffs and ensure that the development and mission requirements are met.

Space product development step 2: Optimizing hardware design and maximizing sustainability.

Optimizing the hardware design of your product is crucial to eliminating surprises during new product introduction and ensuring successful volume manufacturing. By investing in Design for Excellence (DfX), the design phase can be streamlined, reducing component related risk during manufacturing and ultimately saving time and capital. Our team of dedicated DfX experts embed the necessary complexity into the design, ensuring that you can manufacture a product that is effective, robust and durable, without compromising quality or reliability.

To implement any necessary changes in a cost effective and efficient manner, our experts conduct reviews at various stages of the product design cycle, incorporating the insights of downstream stakeholders such as Supply Chain, Test and Manufacturing.

In addition to optimizing hardware design for manufacturing, the design phase provides an excellent opportunity to maximize sustainability.  One of the most effective strategies is to design products that disassemble easily, making it easy to separate components for recycling or reuse in case of changes in the mission requirement. By considering and evaluating such possibilities during the design stage, we can deliver space technology that not only is fully functional and meets your mission timelines, but also has a lower environmental impact. Additionally, it is worth considering the end of life of your suppliers’ products as well, to ensure they align with your own sustainability goals.

Space product development step 3: Optimizing your Supply Chain.

Quick turnaround times are critical for space products, which often require numerous iterations before finalization. To keep up when developing electronics for space applications, a secure and reliable supply chain is necessary. It’s not just about finding alternative resources and logistics at short notice; it’s about developing relationships with the right suppliers across all areas of the supply chain. All suppliers must meet your quality and regulatory requirements while demonstrating the ability to scale and keep up with technical changes as you grow.

In the space industry, supply chains are complex and lead times are often long. Partnering with a team of experts who can act as an extension of your organization can make all the difference. At Plexus, we provide you with the necessary expertise and resources to ensure your supply chain remains secure, efficient, and cost-effective, freeing you up your time to focus on other essential aspects of bringing your product to market. Our goal is to optimize your supply chain, providing you with the agility, flexibility, and reliability you need to succeed in the rapidly changing space industry.

Space product development step 4: Developing your test strategy.

For electronics in space technology to be successful, a comprehensive and cost-effective test strategy is necessary. With the high complexity and high value of space products, even the smallest defects can have significant consequences. Detecting defects early in the manufacturing process is crucial; which is why combining multiple different test and inspection processes is essential. This approach covers multiple bases, accounts for regulatory requirements and identifies any defects created during the manufacturing process.

Collaborating with an expert in this area can give you the extra capacity needed to test your product rapidly, allowing you to accelerate your time to market and stay competitive in the industry. Designing your test solution in parallel with product development ensures that you can test products as early as possible in the manufacturing process. Ultimately, a robust test strategy reduces costs and lead times while ensuring that your space products are of the highest quality.

Engage an experienced partner for your space product development.

From concept development to developing the test strategies, each step is critical to ensuring that space products meet the highest standards of quality, safety, and reliability. By taking a risk-based approach and engaging experienced partners, space companies can achieve an efficient and cost-effective route to market while also mitigating the risks inherent in space manufacturing.

We offer our expertise as a partner in the space product development journey. Our team of experts has experience in all aspects of space product manufacturing, from design and simulation to testing and supply chain optimization. We understand the importance of a rigorous and methodical approach and work closely with our partners to ensure that their products are manufactured to the highest possible standards.

Partnering with us ensures that your space products are designed, tested, and manufactured to meet or exceed industry standards. Our approach to space product development is strategic, thorough, and focused on minimizing risk while maximizing efficiency and cost-effectiveness. With our support, you can bring your space products to market with confidence, knowing that you are contributing to the continued growth and innovation of the space industry.

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