Parts Agency Newsletter 02/2018

Dear Readers of the Tesat-Spacecom Parts Agency Newsletter,

before the year 2018 comes to an end, we have summarized below some of our activities of the past months.

In November, we could successfully finalize all close-out work for two CPPA projects, MTG (Meteosat Third Generation) and for the European Service Module (ESM) Flight Unit 1, a part of the ORION spacecraft. Congratulations to both teams and all supporters!!!

Besides large scientific mission support, we were also involved and closed successfully in 2018 the first ESA-qualification of European 15W and 80W GaN power modules. This was presented by ESA at the 31st international MEWS conference in Tsukuba, Japan. We contributed at the MEWS with our view on the future of EEE parts supply and equipment manufacturing for satellite constellations.

Our lessons learned from first New Space project involvements shows, that the capabilities to efficiently perform and interpret EEE parts tests is a key asset and we constantly increase our portfolio with services in this field as described in a short overview by the head of our labs, Dr. Marcus Witzany.

Please also have a look at the planned conferences with our participation in the upcoming year, we would be glad to meet you there.

With this newsletter, we finally are sending Season’s greetings and best wishes for a Happy New Year to you and your families!!!

If you look closer to this years Christmas picture below, you might detect as a small “preview”, that the TESAT logo gets a fresh-up next year. We hope you like it. It was selected by voting of our over 1000 staff members.

For any questions, for your feedback or topics you wish to be addressed in the next newsletter please contact Dr. Frederik Küchen.

E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Phone: +49 (0) 7191 - 930 - 2414

pa nl 02 18 xmas

ORION Spacecraft: successful ESM transfer assisted by TESAT

The European Service Module (ESM) Flight Unit 1, a part of the ORION spacecraft, has successfully been shipped from Germany to the US and is now prepared for its marriage with the NASA crew vehicle to be made ready for the launch at the Kennedy Space Center. Not just being a great success for NASA, ESA and Airbus, but also for the Tesat-Spacecom Parts Agency. As subcontractor of Airbus, TESAT is leading the Coordinated Parts Procurement (CPPA) for the European Service Module, which occupies a relevant part of the new Multipurpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV).

The service module is responsible for the propulsion, power, water, oxygen and nitrogen throughout the journey (first to the Moon, in later missions to Mars), including all life-supporting instruments and modules for the crew-area of up to four astronauts.

We are proud about our mandate for procurement and related engineering services to secure the quality and reliability of all HI-REL electrical and electronic components. Even as award-winning agency that has been highly qualified for many years, we still feel the special spirit of this project every day and honored to participate in this exciting project. Not suppressing the fact that bringing relevant experience is also very important:

pa nl 02 18 orionEuropean Space Module 1 (Flight Unit 1 and Flight Unit 2)

  • More than 2800 Line Items successfully procured
  • 94% on- time deliveries
  • 74 DCL updates successfully implemented
  • CPPA prices stability during two Flight Units despite of advanced manufacturer pricing
  • 15% improvement of standard Lead time especially for critical Items
  • >540 consolidated line items between 5 equipment’s
  • 37 performed RVT´s

CPPA Technical access

  • 112 PADs fully agreed and signed
  • 22 successfully passed RVT´s
  • 300 successfully passed DPA´s

In addition to component procurement, the we also supported other core topics, such as technical support in the definition of foreseen part types, technical support in the definition of testing requirements, and the so-called obsolescence management. In the latter, crucial part types or models are being stored throughout the whole production process to not endanger the whole manufacturing by no longer available parts.

More information on the mission:

Shipping of ORION:

TESAT Labs & Engineering: Expanding our capabilities for COTS

Growing pressure to reduce equipment cost, the implementation of electronic functionality that cannot be achieved otherwise or simply the vanishing of sources for traditionally space qualified components have triggered the use selected COTS or industrial / automotive qualified EEE components in space applications. Depending on individual mission requirements, a specific testing or analysis on such components might be desirable or even mandatory for the users.

To offer a comprehensive service related to COTS, industrial or automotive grade EEE components for the use in space applications, we have been continuously expanding our capabilities and present some here below.

Non-destructive analysis

pa nl 02 18 labs1Beside the standard method of real time radiography, we have installed a 3D x-ray tomography system and successfully built the expertise to analyze complex components. For plastic encapsulated components, a detailed x-ray analysis helps to understand the internal design which is useful e.g. before a de-capsulation. Furthermore, a radiography is a powerful tool in counterfeit part detection, which is of great interest especially when using COTS product.

In the analysis of plastic encapsulated components, acoustic microscopy has proven to be a reliable method to detect defects in the plastic molding such as delaminations, cracking and voiding which would remain undetected in a radiography. We have therefore invested in a state of the art confocal scanning acoustic microscope beginning of 2018 and have gained substantial experience in the meantime.

Destructive analysis

pa nl 02 18 labs2Our destructive testing capabilities comprise the full testing flows as defined in the destructive physical analysis specifications of the ESA (ESCC 21001) and the DLA (MIL-STD-1580) for plastic encapsulated components. We apply mechanical milling, laser ablation as well as manual and automated chemical wet etching to de-encapsulate a large variety of packages. Furthermore, our automated jet etcher is equipped with the patented CuProtect option capable of de-encapsulating components with copper wires with minimal damage to the bonds. Using the aforementioned techniques, we are routinely de-encapsulating components for heavy ion testing where the components need to remain functional after the de-encapsulation.

Construction and failure analysis

pa nl 02 18 labs3The Parts Agency with its broad portfolio of engineering capabilities offers - as well known - construction and failure analyses on all types of EEE components. Over the last years, we have gathered experience especially in assessing the specific issues in COTS, industrial or automotive grade components and offer this CA service to our customer community, too.

Evaluation, qualification, lot verification and screening

This service by our experienced team of engineers, technicians and operators includes the planning, performing and assessing of complex component test campaigns to evaluate, qualify and screen industrial / automotive grade or COTS components for any type of space applications. Our customers benefit from the wide range of testing equipment available at TESAT, ranging from RF testing up to 40 GHz to vibration testing while monitoring electrical parameters at a sample rate of up to 120 MHz.

Climatic and temperature cycling tests can be performed in a large temperature range. In case you require a test that we cannot perform in-house, we have well established working relationships with external test houses.

Radiation testing

Last but not least TESAT has an experienced team of radiation engineers and technicians with the ability to provide expertise all through the radiation testing process. We are able to offer radiation testing activities for all radiation effects (SEE, TID, TNID). Beginning with the test planning (i.e. project requirements check, component family sensitivity assessment, etc. ...) we are able to prepare the test set- up as well as the organization of the test campaign and data analysis and assessment including the test report.

We can also support the selection phase in the beginning of the project and in the design phase to identify components or technologies considering the RHA project requirements or propose alternative components and are able to give advice for proper mitigation techniques at equipment level.

MTG (Meteosat Third Generation): successful Close-Out

pa nl 02 18 mtg1In November 2018 the MTG CPPA (Coordinated Parts Procurement Agency) Close-Out Meeting was successfully hold between the responsible project manager of the Tesat-Spacecom Parts Agency, Alter Technology, Thales Alenia Space France as project prime and ESA. TESAT formed a CPPA for this program.

TESAT was responsible for the procurement of EEE components for both instrument and platform users over the last eight years and supported them in the selection, engineering, procurement and testing of these parts and built a consortium together with Alter Technology due to the size of the activities. pa nl 02 18 mtg2In addition, the CPPA is the interface to the primes and ESA for all tasks related to EEE components. In total, TESAT procured about 1.800 different types of EEE components for this program, these are summarized more than 200.000 component pieces which are used by about 30 users.

The MTG series are geostationary meteorological satellites which are composed of in total six satellites, four imaging (MTG-I) and two sounding (MTG-S) and will provide weather and climate data for Europe for the next twenty years. The imaging satellites will scan the earth every ten minutes with 16 spectral channels, the sounding satellites will provide detailed vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature and humidity. For this series, Thales Alenia Space France is the prime contractor in partnership with OHB Germany. The target launch date for the first MTG-I satellite is 2021, the MTG-S is foreseen to be started in 2023.

pa nl 02 18 biomassBIOMASS, a successful qualification of GaN technology for Space

ESA's forest mission BIOMASS is being designed to determine the amount of biomass and carbon stored in forests by using P-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) measurements. In 2015 TESAT and United Monolithic Semiconductors have been awarded a contract to develop and qualify a Gallium Nitride (GaN) power transistor, capable of satisfying the Biomass mission requirements.

The work at TESAT involved the development of hermetic packaging solutions and performing extensive, mechanical, assembly, endurance and radiation tests. The screening and qualification were based on ESCC specification 5010 and have been successfully completed quite recently.

This is the first time European GaN technology has been qualified for an ESA mission and represents the maturity and application readiness of this technology.

MEWS 31 - The 31st Microelectronic Workshop

pa nl 02 18 mewsOn the 8th and 9th of November 2018, the 31st MEWS (Microelectronics Workshop) conference took place in Tsukuba (Japan). Hosted by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) 150 experts of space components, manufacturers and component users met to discuss the latest trends and developments. 25 oral presentations, a poster exhibition with six contributions and 29 companies as exhibitors of products built the foundation of this year’s event. Representatives of NASA, ESA and DLR presented new achievements and needs of the space industry and shared their views on innovations.

Also TESAT participated and contributed with the presentation “A new era of space equipment manufacturing has started” by Dr. Frederik Küchen, head of the Parts Agency. His speech focused on the EEE component aspects for the transition from individual space projects to a production for small-sat networks (e.g. constellations). Such volume production needs innovative approaches starting with the EEE parts and supplier selection, innovative procurement and includes a smart factory setup to merge the space equipment, manufacturing needs with the customer’s volume and costs expectations.

A positive feedback was received and it was very interesting to discuss and exchange experiences with both established Japanese space manufacturers as well as with so-called “New Space” players that evolved in Japan over the last two years.

Tesat will continue to deepen the existing long-term relationships and is planning to join the MEWS in 2019 and to further extend the partnership with customers in Japan.

Presentations at the CCAF and CSF forum in China

Tesat Parts Agency participated to the 4th China International Commercial Aerospace Forum (CCAF) which took place from 26th to 28th of September in Wuhan. The commercial space community from China and abroad met there to follow a wide range of presentations, discussing technological developments and business opportunities in the commercial space sector.

Another important event is the China Space Forum (CSF) hosted by China Aerospace Science and Technology Consulting Co. Ltd. (CASTCC). It takes place every year in Beijing and brings together hundreds of representatives of the global space industry. This year, the conference was held from 5th to 6th December dealing the topic „Chances and Challenges of New Space“.

Our Tesat employee, Dr. Corvoin Liaw, located in Beijing, contributed with presentations to both events and discussed about trends and new services for EEE parts procurement and engineering.


  • 11 - 13 March 2019
    ESCCON, ESA/ESTEC Noordwijk, The Netherlands
  • 8 - 12 July 2019
    NSREC, IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference, San Antonio, USA
  • 16 - 20 September 2019
    RADECS, Radiation and its Effects on Components and Systems, Montpellier, France
  • October 2019
    MEWS32 Microelectronics Workshop, Tokyo, Japan
  • 19 - 21 November 2019
    Space Tech Expo, Bremen, Germany

Yours Tesat Parts Agency

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