The Strategic Importance of Materials Science for Space and Electronics Applications

Space technnology is based on a deep understanding of the science of materials. Next-generation spacecraft structures and electronic systems are enabled by fundamental advancements in structural and electronic materials. New CNT-based composite materials allow lighter and stronger spacecraft bus and deployable structures. Quantum-dot solar cells may enable significant improvements in electrical power generation and efficiency. Advanced compound semiconductor materials yield highly integrated electronics that operate at over 300 GHz. These advances in space technology are in turn enabled by advances in materials technology. We discuss here the strategic importance of materials science for space and electronics applications, and the key challenges and technical drivers for advanced materials going forward.

Dwight Streit, Northrop Grumman Space Technology

 

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