Cicor congratulates ESA - The research laboratory Philae landed on the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Thu, 04 Dec 2014

Zurich, December 4, 2014. Highest level of precision and reliability for the Rosetta mission: flex circuit boards for use in space. Cicor manufactured flex circuit boards for the electronic components of the Rosetta mission's high-resolution cameras. Infinite reliability and precision were the key enablers for the long-term deployment under the extreme conditions of outer space.

After a ten-year flight, a space laboratory successfully landed on the surface of a comet for the first time in history. As part of the Rosetta mission, PHILAE will more closely examine the comet's surface, using its seven cameras to take high-resolution 360° and 3D images. Cicor manufactured highly complex flex circuit boards at the Boudry production site for the sophisticated electronics of these cameras.

To ensure the PCBs was able to withstand undamaged the strong vibrations of the launch vehicle  and the extremely low temperatures of -150 °C, they had to be especially robust and reliable and comply with the strictest aerospace standards. The PCBs were tested in liquid nitrogen to verify their functionality over a long period of time under even the most extreme conditions.

Miniaturization of the cameras and their components posed a major challenge. Development of compact digital cameras was still in its infancy and  cameras able to function in space were usually the same size as the deployment module, making such hand-sized high-resolution cameras a landmark at that time. Their high energy efficiency and lightweight, space-saving design was critical for the success of the mission. With the use of polyamide as a flexible base carrier substrate of the circuit board and the perfectly coordinated electronic components , Cicor successfully mastered these challenges and made an important contribution to the Rosetta mission success story.