Engineering TV interviewed Jim McGregor, President of Microtech, at IMS 2014 about space-qualified waveguides. Companies like Microtech have recently adapted microwave transmission lines and waveguides to make them “space-qualified”. These waveguides differ from normal waveguides in many ways, including: weight, assembly, and process. Space-qualified waveguides use thin wall tubing and rigid assembly to meet such requirements. This type of assembly allows for vibration during launch and tolerance throughout usage. These specific waveguides must be built to withstand harsh environments and protect amplifier circuits.
Space-qualified waveguides are used in satellite manufacturing. The components and sensors used in satellites are put together using waveguides. Space-qualified waveguides are sometimes not generally available and require specific fabrication. Microtech also, “designs and manufactures lightweight and millimeter waveguides for satellites launched weekly by Space/Loral, MDA, Boeing Space, and many other companies.” Historically, waveguides have been used in space application. According to an IEEE Xplore paper, “Waveguide low pass filters (LPFs) are used widely in satellite payload for its stop-band performance.”
Watch the video above for a preview of Microtech’s space-qualified waveguides. Be sure to check out other videos from IMS 2014 at Engineering TV.