Harwin has supplied 2mm pitch Datamate series connectors for use on the compact Delfi-C3 nano satellite, offering space and weight savings over conventional D subminiature connectors.
Harwin reports that the Delfi-C3 nano satellite – which uses the company's 2mm pitch Datamate series connectors on the solar cells and other instrumentation – is now orbiting about 630km above the earth, successfully achieving its mission having sent back over 270,000 telemetry frames to date.
Developed at the faculty of Aerospace Engineering at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, Delfi-C3 is based on the CubeSat concept and measures 10x10x30cm. Normally in space exploration D subminiature connector types might be used. But CubeSats can only weigh a maximum of 1kg, so D types are too heavy and the required matching cable harnessing would account for a disproportionately large amount of the weight of the craft.
Harwin's 2mm pitch Datamate (M80) connectors have therefore been chosen instead. Conforming to British Standard BS 9525-F0033, they can withstand high levels of shock, acceleration and vibration in addition to surviving a large number of mating cycles, all without loss of performance. They also operate perfectly under extremes of temperature – a necessary consideration in space, as satellites are alternately facing directly into, or away from the sun. The contact features a four-finger beryllium copper clip to ensure integrity of connection even under the most severe conditions. Datamate connectors come with crimp or PC tails (vertical and horizontal), in surface-mount and through-hole versions, and with extra-secure jackscrew and latching options. Datamate connectors can feature mixed contact technologies including signal, power, and coax.
Readers can monitor the progress of the Delfi-C3 satellite at www.delfic3.nl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=89&Itemid=121.