Designing electronic systems for space is more complex than designing equivalent systems for terrestrial use. Space poses some unique challenges – the environment is very hostile and space systems need to work in little or no atmosphere, across a wide temperature range, and under continuous attack by radiation in the form of protons, heavy ions, and electrons from the Sun. Fault tolerance and operation under these conditions can be particularly tricky. Understanding ‘where’ and ‘when’ a satellite will operate will form the beginnings of an effective design.
It is possible to perform environmental tests such total ionising dose experiments in space. The STRaND programme, run jointly by SSC and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), includes a number of tasks ranging from Android programming to systems design to radiation testing.