Manufacturing for Space: Watch Out for “Asteroids” in Your Supply Chain

The space industry is generating a lot of buzzes these days, from Scott Kelly’s return from his one-year mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to SpaceX’s latest mission. Technology with quality standards developed for government space and defense programs have launched an expanding commercial space industry. This new demand raises the question: What are the supply chain “asteroids” to watch out for when manufacturing for space?

Here are a few tips from NPI Services, Inc. to help guide your mission:

  1. Components – Order long-lead-time components as soon as you receive a purchase order (PO) from your customer. High reliability components such as JAN quality level may have lead-times up to 40 weeks, and may require data packages to be supplied with the parts.
  2. PCB Material – Issue a purchase order to the circuit board manufacturer during the design phase to avoid material lead-times.
  3. PCB Fabrication Qualification Requirements – Make sure your circuit board manufacturer meets the requirements of IPC-6012 Class 3 A.
  4. Government Source Inspection – If a government source inspection is required, be sure to contact the Quality Assurance Specialist (QAS) at the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) ahead of time to schedule an inspection. Some processes may require an onsite witness.
  5. PCB Assembly Qualification Requirements – Make sure the PCB Assembly Manufacturer is certified to assemble to J-STD-001, Performance Class 3 with Space Addendum.
  6. Conformal Coating Material – Issue a purchase order for the conformal coating ahead of time to avoid material delays.

Don’t let these “asteroids” in your supply chain steer you off course and delay your schedule. Contact NPI Services, Inc. to ensure on-time delivery for all your flight hardware needs.