NASA Office of Logic Design

NASA Office of Logic Design

A scientific study of the problems of digital engineering for space flight systems,
with a view to their practical solution.

Shortcomings in Ground Testing, Environment Simulations,
and Performance Predictions for Space Applications

E.G. Stassinopoulos and G.J. Brucker

NASA Technical Paper 3217
April 1992

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This paper addresses the issues involved in radiation testing of devices and subsystems to obtain the data that are required to predict the performance and survivability of satellite systems for extended missions in space. The problems associated with space environmental simulations, or the lack thereof, in experiments intended to produce information to describe the degradation and behavior of parts and systems are discussed. Several types of radiation effects in semiconductor components are presented, as for example: ionization dose effects, heavy ion- and proton-induced Single-Event Upsets (SEUs), and Single-Event- Transient Upsets (SETUs). Examples and illustrations of data relating to these ground testing issues are provided. The primary objective of this presentation is to alert the reader to the shortcomings, pitfalls, variabilities, and uncertainties in acquiring information to logically design electronic subsystems for use in satellites or space stations with long mission lifetimes, and to point out the weaknesses and deficiencies in the methods and procedures by which that information is obtained.

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