Laser sources for deployment in space require a series of stringent requirements to be met, be it on electro-optical performance, SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) budget, robustness and reliability. For the FBH laser modules to fulfil these requirements, all of their components and sub-assemblies, including COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) parts, custom parts made in cooperation with industry, and parts completely produced in-house, need to be qualified for the given mission scenario. All parts need to be traceable throughout the whole product value chain. Furthermore, the module design has to account for the specific environmental conditions of a space deployment, and test plans have to be developed to validate the hardware, e.g. with respect to the environmental requirements and electro-optical performance.
The focus of the activities for space qualification is laid on three main topics:
- Product assurance: all materials, processes, components and equipment required for the production of the laser modules are monitored throughout the value chain in order to ensure that they fulfil their functionalities and can be traced back in case of malfunction.
- Qualification: materials, processes, components, sub-assemblies and in the end fully functional laser modules are tested against the requirements (functionality, environmental, lifetime, etc.) of the mission scenario and their performance is validated against these requirements.
- Supply chain management: It is ensured that all raw materials, equipment, components and services procured externally are available and can be delivered in due time over the whole production process.