Electronics Laboratory, Testing Facilities, Clean Rooms
The electronics laboratory of the MPS develops, integrates, tests and qualifies instruments for ground- and space-based equipment.
The members of staff in the electronics department closely collaborate with the engineers in the scientific departments. The produce complex electronic boards with up to ten layers, for instance and subsequently attend to equipping and testing of the circuit and finally put it into service.
The technicans taking care of these tasks all possess an ESA certificate for quilified soldering, which is re-taken every two years. They work at soldering stations that are equipped for flight hardware and that are insulated against electric discharges.
Alternatively, soldering of complex and complicated electronics parts is made using vapor-phase soldering. Programable integrated electric circuits, called Field Programmable integrated electric circuits, called Field Programmable Gate Arrays, are also used and are programmed in VHDL.
All necessary equipment and ESA-certified staff are available for producing space cables.
The testing facilities consist of a total of 18 thermal-vacuum chambers with data capturing and various thermal cupboards. These facilities are available to the scientific departments for testing and qualifying space instruments. They are maintained by the staff of the electronics laboratory and are supplied and used according to requirements. Members of staff of the electronics laboratory also help the scientists when they are testing instruments in the testing facilities.
A special thermal-vacuum chamber with clean-room conditions is available for characterizing optical detectors. This is equipped with an illumination system for wavelength ranges of 250 nanaometers to 1000 nanometers. Other thermal-vacuum chambers are available for long-term testing.
Scientific instruments (or their components) are assembled and integrated in clean rooms up to ISO grade 5, according to ESA-and NASA specifications. The clean-room conditions are continually measured and controlled. Performance- and calibration tests are also conducted here.
All flight parts (mechanical and electronical) are cleaned and baked in special procedures before the components are integrated into a space instrument.
The training workshop of the electronics laboratory currently trains one electronic technician per training year.
Customs and logistics: The MPS closely collaborates with other institutes and organizations around the globe. This frequently entails importing or exporting instruments or parts of them. One member of staff of the electronics department is therefore responsible for all customs laws and regulations, transit procedures, foreign trade laws and export control.