Space Information Laboratories (SIL)
America’s space program has been a triumph of technology for decades. For every one of the thousands of components each rocket or space station carries, one or more companies are behind their design and manufacture, which require 100 percent reliability. This means that each system launched by a rocket – which Space Information Laboratories (SIL) founder and CEO Edmund Burke calls a “black box” – has to be tested extensively and “space-qualified.”
“You have to do thermal cycle and vacuum, random and sine vibration, shock and electromagnetic interference. radiative and conductive emission testing,” Burke stresses.
“You have to space-qualify four times higher than the actual level you are going to experience,” he adds. “It’s not easy to pass that. On launch, you have a stage 1 and stage 2 explosion that is like a bomb going off. Your black box may be 3 feet away, and the box has to survive that and keep working. Once it passes space qualification, then it is allowed to be placed on a rocket. If something happens, we’re not liable for that if the black box passes Department of Defense and/or NASA-accepted Space Qualification requirements.”