SpaceCube 2.0 is a family of high-performance reconfigurable systems designed for spaceflight applications requiring onboard processing. The environmental requirements of the SpaceCube 2.0 system do not meet the available design practices seen currently in the spaceflight industry. There is a need for a mechanical spaceflight system that both meets Space Cube 2.0’s environmental requirements and standard flight design rules for board design and assembly features.

There is also a need for a mechanical design that is adaptable for multiple SpaceCube 2.0 use cases and mission environments. This is for schedule, cost, and performance resources to be utilized efficiently. Additionally, a mechanical system is needed that meets environmental requirements in a passive manner to ensure the mechanical assemblies are assembled in a cost- and schedule-efficient manner.

NASA Goddard’s SpaceCube 2.0 Flight Card Mechanical System is inherently adaptable and configurable for various configurations. The mechanical system also enables the processor and power card assemblies to meet standard, thermal, structural, electromagnetic interference, and radiation environmental requirements.

The design includes a primary and optional secondary side-stiffening frame. The frames bolt to the printed circuit card in a back-to-back, mirror-image configuration. The frames include interface locations to mount a front panel where the signal and power connectors interface to external systems. The tops of the frames have interface locations for mounting a custom shield. The primary side frame has a flange interface next to the card guide that allows for the processor and power card assemblies to be inserted and extracted from the overall SpaceCube 2.0 system. The flange also enables thermal and mechanical coupling of the processor and power card to the mechanical house of the SpaceCube 2.0 system.

The frame adapts for multiple thermal and structural use cases while modifying a very little portion of its overall design. The use of the frame, its thermal design implementations, and structural assembly processes allow back-to-back 1-mm-pitch devices and large back-to-back power converter devices to survive environmental requirements. The mechanical system design supports high power and high mass density on an electronics board assembly. Additionally, the top side of the heat frame adapts for various thermal design implementations.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact NASA’s Licensing Concierge at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at 202-358-7432 to initiate licensing discussions. Follow this link here  for more information.


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This article first appeared in the December, 2020 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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