the shortage also has consequences for space

Due to the current health crisis, many sectors have been facing shortages of electronic components in recent months. Below that we find space, which comes after other sectors that weigh more heavily on the market.

Demand Explodes

In April 2021, we mentioned the fact that the current semiconductor crisis also impacted the production of household appliances, in addition to the video games, cars and mobile phone sectors. As Numerama explains in an August 1, 2021 article, the space sector is also suffering. National Center for Space Studies (CNES) engineer Thomas Torloting explained that space has managed to cope for the time being. However, this cannot last. Like other agencies around the world, CNES is currently experiencing issues with the supply of components used for the construction of new satellites.

Electronic component manufacturers have faced a crisis in recent years. It must be said that the raw material requirement: increasingly important, such as silicon for electronic chips or ceramics for capacitors. However, the current Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated this crisis. The cause is none other than the increase in the number of people working from home, resulting in a explosion in demand for computer equipment.

Delays have tripled

Professionals generally use suppliers who sometimes make very special materials, hand in hand with a certain technology. In terms of space, they are often parts able to withstand strong stresses in terms of pressure, temperature, etc. The goal is, of course, that the material functions correctly during the space missions.

Typically, lead times for parts are three to four months. However, these same deadlines are one year old today for CNES because of the health crisis. This situation has an impact on the deadlines for certain ongoing projects. This is particularly the case with Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE), an ESA mission to Jupiter’s natural satellites, scheduled for launch in June 2022.

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Few alternatives

Since the space sector is not a “mastodon”, it comes after others, although more component intensive : telephony, car and video games. The supply difficulties are thus very real, because at the time of purchase of components, the three main sectors have already reserved important productions. However, the alternatives are not countless.

and with upstream storage solution seems very relevant, not all companies are able to do this, as it requires very significant resources. In addition, you should know that some components can become obsolete over time, something that is clearly unimaginable for the aerospace industry. Another alternative would be to change supplier. The shortage mainly affects Asian suppliers, so it is possible to go to manufacturers in the United States as well as in Europe. Only then are the components more expensive and the choices more limited.