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Accelerated Life Testing

Scope and Description

This topic covers accelerated life testing of spacecraft components and subsystems. This testing involves exposing the unit under test to exceptionally dynamic and extreme operating and/or environmental conditions (e.g., high temperature, rapid thermal cycling, or vibration) to excite failures in a relatively short period of time. This enables relatively fast identification of design or manufacturing flaws that limit life and generates statistically significant datasets for estimation of life for the device under nominal conditions.

Resources under this topic area primarily include relevant standards and articles addressing accelerated life testing of space hardware.

Best Practices and Lessons Learned

Last Updated:

Nov. 10, 2021

Accelerated life testing is typically not practical for individual smallsat projects due to budget constraints and an inability to sacrifice a statistically significant number of systems/devices to this testing. However, in the case of COTS subsystems or components that are to be used on a large number of missions, accelerated life testing can be a valuable tool for assessing reliability.


Test Method Standard: Microcircuits

US Department of Defense

Last Updated: Oct. 16, 2021

This document covers the basic test method standard for testing microelectronic devices used in military ... and aerospace applications. The section titled "Method 1019.9 Ionizing Radiation (Total Dose) Test Procedure" of this standard provides a widely accepted procedure for conducting total dose testing of microcircuits using a Cobalt-60 (Co-60) gamma ray source. The procedure presents four tests and their respective applicability. It also includes helpful sections on test setup and configuration. This includes cabling, dosimetry, sample selection and handling, lead and aluminum containers, etc. Burn-in and life testing requirements are established for various types of microcircuits.

Last Updated: Oct. 19, 2021

This document offers four alternative test methods for electronic parts that have emerged at NASA for ... testing parts individually or as part of a system: highly accelerated life testing (HALT), forward voltage drop tests for evaluating wire-bond integrity, burn-in options during or after highly-accelerated stress test (HAST), and board-level qualification.

This presentation provides an overview of the Highly Accelerated Life Testing (HALT) and Highly Accelerated ... Stress Screening (HASS) thermal cycling techniques on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics boards. It also shows examples and images of thermal cycling performed on PCB boards in a HALT system along with the simulation and analysis results.

Last Updated: Aug. 26, 2021

This resource provides a high-level overview of accelerated testing on space mechanisms. It details common ... mechanisms that require accelerated testing, accelerated testing methods, and procedures for developing an accelerated testing road map.

This dissertation on CubeSat reliability provides a detailed account of the methods and lessons learned ... for the Munich Orbital Verification Experiment (MOVE) II mission. Section 2.2.2 specifically highlights the accelerated life testing approach and how it can be used to assess the reliability of spacecraft subsystems.

A Review of Accelerated Test Models

Luis Escobar et al.

Last Updated: Oct. 19, 2021

This resource provides a detailed review of accelerated test models and how to properly apply them to ... produce accurate analyses.

The Extreme Challenges of Accelerated Life Testing

Accel-RF Instruments Corporation

Last Updated: Aug. 26, 2021

This article provides an overview of the difficulties with accelerated life testing on semiconductor ... products commonly used in the space industry. From understanding channel temperature to RF integrity and to reducing the time needed for reliability testing, this document provides useful direction when beginning the accelerated life testing process.

This article provides useful information and mathematical equations for estimating accelerated life testing ... (ALT) distributions. ALT can be extremely costly and time-intensive, by developing a plan prior to ALT it reduces the risk of failure during the design phase. This resource will help in the planning process prior to the actual implementation of ALT.

Last Updated: Nov. 10, 2021

This paper on highly accelerated life testing (HALT) looks to improve failure rates in the aerospace ... industry by discussing the importance of accelerated testing early in the design phase. A history of the HALT process is introduced and results from HALT testing on electronic components are discussed.

Test Methods for Semiconductor Devices

US Department of Defense

Last Updated: Nov. 10, 2021

This DoD standard "establishes uniform test methods for testing the environmental, physical, and electrical ... characteristics of semiconductor devices."