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Making Sure Space Instrumentation Doesn’t Drop to the Ground

The Mullard Space Science Laboratory is the UK's largest university space research group and has the unique capability of designing, building and testing instruments and other spacecraft systems at its research labs in Surrey, England. These highly sophisticated products are both fragile and costly and no chances can be taken when they are shipped to their destinations, before they are loaded onto space ships or satellites and launched into Space.

“Of course we ensure that they are 100% reliable before they leave here.” says Craig Theobald in the design department at MSSL. “However, even with specialist shipping companies, we want to be certain that the equipment hasn't undergone any major impacts on the journey that may damage the delicate electronics.”

In order to give them peace of mind, MSSL started using the ShockWatch Clips from Lamerholm. Based on the renowned ShockWatch labels that are used by companies throughout the world to save time and money by providing a cost-effective damage deterrent when shipping goods. The Clips can be mounted directly on to or even inside a product to indicate when an impact has occurred.

Using an innovative mechanism, the clear tube on the Clip simply turns red when activated. This activation cannot be reversed, so providing evidence that mishandling has occurred. The ShockWatch Clips are self- adhesive and can be stuck onto any part of the product. They can be used to monitor poor handling and abuse at every stage of the product lifecycle from manufacture, in transit and even when being used by the customer.

“Before using the ShockWatch Clips, if any impact or damage was suspected, the instruments would have to be stripped down, tested and then reassembled. This is costly both in terms of manpower and time.” says Craig. “As much as some ofengineers would like to go up in Space to service any of our instruments, it's not a viable option!” he added with a smile. “It is vital our instruments work before leaving the ground and thanks to the ShockWatch Clips, we know if any impacts have occurred on the way to their penultimate destination.”

The ShockWatch Clips are available in a wide range of shock levels, from 10g up to 150g, to meet specific
requirements and enable cost and time savings throughout companies.The ShockWatch Clips complement a range of solutions from Lamerholm for damage monitoring.

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