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Specifying a Capacitor for Space-Based Applications Whitepaper

In 1957 humans launched the first satellite into space. This groundbreaking moment kicked off a new era for those in the science and engineering community. Since then, the way we think about space has continued to evolve. In recent years, that evolution has exponentially increased as the number of space-based applications has risen significantly. Accessing and using space is now a critical part of our day to day lives. From GPS and internet to national defense and the study of our universe, we rely on space-based technologies to keep us safe and improve the quality of our lives.

As the cost to launch objects into space continues to fall, space has become far more accessible. No longer are the days where large government agencies or defense contractors were the only entities who had the means to put something into orbit. Today, small countries’ space agencies, universities, researchers, and smaller companies now have access to space. In addition, larger companies and space agencies can easily afford to launch arrays of thousands of smaller “cube satellites” into orbit.

As the designs of these modern space technologies are being developed, several key factors need to be considered when selecting critical electronic components. Capacitors play a major role in countless critical systems including propulsion, power management, communications, RADAR, LIDAR, filtering, and many more. The way capacitors are specified for use in space is very different than was done as recently as 10 years ago. This whitepaper will serve as a guide that will highlight important design criteria to consider when selecting a capacitor for any space application, from large high- profile missions to smaller cost sensitive projects.


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