Astrionics research

What is Astrionics?

Astrionics is an application domain of electronic engineering that is concerned with the development of all the electronic systems, sub-systems, and components used in spacecraft. Most spacecraft often includes several of the following subsystems:

RCS     -   Reaction Control Subsystem (ie: propulsion control)
ADCS   -   Attitude Determination & Control Subsystem
GNC     -   Guidance, Navigation & Control Subsystem
C&DH   -   Command and Data Handling Subsystem
TT&C    -   Telemetry, Tracking and Command Subsystem
TCS      -   Thermal Control subsystem
EPS      -   Electrical Power Subsystem
P/M       -   Payload Module 

When designing electronic subsystems for spacecraft, engineers have to contend with a particularly harsh environment that goes way beyond a simple vacuum. Mechanisms must be put in place to protect the payload, and all its support systems, from wide temperature swings, cosmic radiation and the corrosive action of atomic oxygen, not to mention fast moving micrometeorites and other space debris. In addition, complex life support systems are needed if the spacecraft is intended to carry humans. The following info-graphic shows some of the technical considerations that are frequently associated with astrionic design.