Space-grade connectors are a critical component to enable endless opportunities in space exploration. These connectors are vital for maintaining the optimal performance of spacecraft, planetary vehicles, satellites, and other crucial applications. In particular, connectors must be reliable from pre-launch through deployment and operation — as they are essential to data transmission, controls, and power.
Interconnects are mission-critical components; their failure leaves the potential for catastrophic consequences. For example, loose connectors can disrupt critical control signals, leading to mission failure and potentially losing human life. Interconnects that are not adequately shielded against EMI/RFI signals could corrupt control signals and data. Because of this, choosing a proper interconnect solution is paramount. PEI-Genesis supports engineers by offering connector lines such as the Souriau 38999 space-grade series.
Space-Grade Solutions from Eaton
The Souriau 38999 series of connectors are well-suited for applications requiring space-grade solutions — offering more than 50 layouts, two locking systems, and three mounting styles. These high-density, harsh-environment connectors are used in a variety of space applications, including:
The Souriau 38999 offers three QPL-approved standard series: 8LTS, 8TS, and 8DS, respectively MIL-DTL-38999 Space Grade series I, II & III.
Manufacturing Space-Grade Connectors
Eaton engineers work in an in-house certified independent laboratory to provide robust connector solutions. To ensure that interconnects perform at consistently high levels in the harsh environments of space, these connectors undergo a stringent validation and qualification testing process.
For example, engineers use a vacuum bell to test the connector’s ability to withstand extreme conditions where pressure and temperature vary, and both residual magnetism and magnetic permeability are tested to measure magnetic susceptibility.
All space-grade Souriau 38999 interconnect solutions are engineered for harsh environments — including extreme temperatures, high vibration, shock, and EMI/RF interference. These interconnects are tested at 500 mating/unmating cycles and incorporate multiple options to meet specific design requirements. They are made of non-outgassing materials to ensure material integrity further and have machined shells.
Moreover, the space-grade Souriau 38999 interconnect solutions are RoHS and REACH compliant and are qualified to MIL and ESCC, ESA/ESCC 3401, and MIL-DTL-38999 standards, with no LAT required. In addition, the parts are tested at Screening Level 1 according to EEE-INST-002. The compatible Sunbank backshells are available in aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, and a space-grade composite. The Souriau series includes the Mil-Spec 38999 8LTS Series I standard profile bayonet connectors, 8TS Series II low-profile bayonet connectors, and 8DS Series III, including a self-locking coupling system. Now, let’s dive deeper into these three series.
The Souriau 3899 8LTS Series I connectors have been engineered explicitly beyond the strict requirements of Mil-Spec 38999 for use in space applications. This series provides a high contact density standard profile bayonet coupling mechanism to ensure positive mating with a tactile “click.”
The Souriau 3899 8LTS Series I is also available in shell sizes from 9 to 25 and includes EMI/RF shielding and shell-to-shell shielding continuity, an operating temperature range of -65°C +200°C.
The Souriau 38999 8TS Series II are low-profile quick bayonet coupling connectors with a lightweight, space-saving design that is 30% shorter than the 38999 Series I. This makes these connectors ideal for space applications where SWaP (Size, Weight, and Power) optimization is essential. In fact, SWaP is a key aspect of design optimization. Added mass or volume can limit the amount of fuel that can be carried, affecting the payload or even how long a mission can last.
The Souriau 38999 8TS Series II connectors also provide visual, audible, and sensitive mating checks, further enhancing their reliability and achieving shell orientation using polarizing keys. The connectors operate at a -65°C +200°C temperature range and resist shock, vibration, and fluid. Furthermore, the 8TS Series II is available in 9 shell sizes from 8 to 24 and 38 different contact layouts with up to 128 contacts.
The 8DS Series III handles extreme operating conditions, including high vibration temperatures up to 200°C, and is available in hermetic receptacle and Bulkhead feedthrough versions. With a standard profile screw coupling connector, the parts are intermateable with NATC (NASA Thread Coupling) connectors. The 8DS Series III also has a unique anti-decoupling mechanism to ensure the plug and receptacle remain coupled under extreme environmental conditions.
These interconnects are available in shell sizes from 9 to 25 and 53 different layouts and PC tail receptacle versions.
PEI-Genesis: Your Source for Space-Grade Connectors
PEI-Genesis partners with Souriau by Eaton to provide reliable and robust space-grade solutions for advancing technologies in space. These interconnects are engineered to handle the harsh conditions of space exploration.
As a global distributor, PEI is fully stocked and ready for liftoff. Our South Bend, Indiana facility has in-house equipment to outgas a connector within hours rather than days. Click the button below to place an order or speak to an engineer.