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EMI/EMC Testing

Scope and Description

This topic page covers electromagnetic interference/compatibility (EMI/EMC) testing of spacecraft electronics. EMI/EMC testing for space hardware includes conducted emissions, conducted susceptibility, radiated emissions, and radiated susceptibility. Conducted and radiated emission tests determine whether unintentional signals output from an electronic system through conductors or as electromagnetic radiation are lower than specified limits. Conducted and radiated susceptibility tests confirm that an electronic system is able to operate without faults or failures when subjected to specified electromagnetic radiation and conducted radio frequency voltage or current. Spacecraft may experience conducted and radiated EMI from onboard systems or from Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) events caused by spacecraft charging. Relative to systems in larger satellites, smallsat electronic systems tend to be more electronically integrated and in close proximity to one another. This proximity and reduced isolation creates elevated risk of EMI/EMC flaws that can be identified through this testing.

This topic page primarily includes relevant standards and articles presenting case studies for EMI/EMC testing of smallsat electronics.

Best Practices and Lessons Learned

Last Updated:

Nov. 1, 2021

Conducted susceptibility and conducted emissions testing of a smallsat power management and distribution system is an important and relatively low-cost/complexity type of EMI/EMC testing. At a minimum, the worst-case ripple and positive/negative transient response should be measured and compared with the specified limits (i.e., susceptibilities) for each component to be powered by that bus or switched output.

Last Updated:

Nov. 1, 2021

When representative of a potential operational environment, multiple sources of EMI should be applied simultaneously to assess the susceptibility of the system under test.

Resources

Last Updated: Oct. 19, 2021

This conference paper documents environmental testing performed on a 120kg university smallsat. It covers ... EMC testing, vibration testing, and thermal/vacuum testing. This resource provides valuable information to inform environmental testing of other smallsats, including theoretical background, test conditions, photos, diagrams, and experimental data.

Last Updated: Aug. 24, 2021

This test report on the StangSat cubesat program provides a high-level description and results of the ... Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) testing performed per MIL-STD-461F requirements.

This resources provides information on the NASA electromagnetic interference/compatibility (EMI/EMC) ... test facility at NASA Johnson Space Center. Section 4.3 on the "Test Preparation Phase" could be used to inform test planning and documentation for a smallsat EMI/EMC test.

Last Updated: Aug. 25, 2021

This NASA standard provides detailed policies and requirements for electromagnetic compatibility for ... spacecraft at the system and subsystem level. It "defines the minimum EMC requirements to be imposed on any payload electrical and/or electronic equipment to be transported by launch vehicle or spacecraft carrier systems."

Last Updated: Oct. 19, 2021

This journal paper discusses the importance and challenges of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) for ... spacecraft and the process for establishing EMC requirements. Example missions are used to describe the process of developing EMC requirements for a diverse set of spacecraft.

Last Updated: Oct. 19, 2021

This conference paper introduces the issue of electromagnetic interference (EMI) that can impede the ... performance of the electric and magnetic field instrumentation on cubesats. The authors present a method and experimental setup for EMI testing of a cubesat with this type on instrumentation and provide experimental results.

Last Updated: Oct. 19, 2021

This DoD standard provides detailed requirements, documentation, policies, and procedures for the control ... of electromagnetic interference (EMI) characteristics of electronics for US Department of Defense systems. Section 5 provides applicability, limits, and procedures for each test and Table V can be used to quickly identify the subset of tests which apply to space systems.

Last Updated: Oct. 19, 2021

This interface standard provides EMI/EMC requirements for US Department of Defense electronics. Appendix ... A.4 provides information relevant to verification by testing with guidance and lessons learned.

Last Updated: Nov. 11, 2021

This resource provides an overview of electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electromagnetic compatibility ... (EMC) testing on integrated circuits (ICs) used in emerging technologies (e.g., 5G, IoT, etc.). Multiple test methods are discussed as well as the expected frequency range and modulation to ensure that the ICs will not only operate under a specific range of EMI, but that they will also not emit EMI that could damage other nearby ICs.

High-Speed PCB Design Guide

White Paper
Sierra Circuits

Last Updated: Nov. 11, 2021

This document provides detailed information on the best practices, guidance, and challenges with high-speed ... PCB design and circuit board layout. Additionally, Section 5 of this document provides an overview of electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), what causes EMI, and best practices for preventing EMI on PCBs.

Last Updated: Nov. 10, 2021

This document discusses the electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) ... requirements and test methods for spacecraft to be deployed from the International Space Station (ISS). It provides an overview of proper shielding, grounding, bonding, and other safety considerations to reduce EMI and ensure crew safety aboard the ISS.

Last Updated: Nov. 11, 2021

This document provides step-by-step procedures for analyzing the radiated electromagnetic interference ... (EMI) due to electrostatic discharge (ESD) events. In addition, this resource provides guidance that can help and minimize the chances of damaging ESD events.