Incap Produces Electronics for NASA's Lunar Mission Cameras

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Incap Corporation, headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, has produced PCBs for stereo cameras that will be used in the Moon in connection with NASA's Artemis lunar program. The cameras have been developed by an Estonian company Crystalspace.

The cameras with Incap electronics will act as a stereo pair to monitor the operations of a robotic arm that will collect regolith samples from the Moon. “It was a very exciting project for our team. Knowing that the electronics produced by Incap will one day be on the Moon is uplifting for everyone in our team. We are honored to be a part of such a historic project,” said Otto Pukk, CEO and President of Incap Corporation.

Incap produced three different circuit boards for the cameras. “Although it was a very small order,  it was still a very significant project for us and we are honored to have been able to extend our competence to this mission,” said Pukk. “Incap has produced electronics for space technology before, but this is the first project with Incap’s electronics going to the Moon,” explained Pukk.

“We produced the electronics based on Crystalspace´s specifications, however the production process did not differ much from the company's usual process. We produce everything according to the highest standards. For example, we also produce electronics for medical devices, which must meet very high quality requirements and special documentation requirements, so the process itself was quite standard for us,” explained Pukk.

The cameras built for the lunar mission will need to withstand extreme conditions. During take-off and the entire mission, the cameras will be subjected to extreme conditions and temperatures from -173 to +100 degrees Celsius that occur on the Moon. “The cameras were thoroughly tested to make sure that they can withstand these conditions,” explained Pukk.

The cameras were developed by Estonian companies Crystalspace and Krakul and Tartu Observatory. "We had a tight schedule, and we needed partners that we could count on for being able to meet the deadlines. Incap was a natural choice for us, as we have done many projects successfully with them before," commented Jaan Hendrik Murumets, CEO of Krakul, Estonia's leading IoT and autonomous systems development company. 

Crystalspace delivered system integration as well as the design and optics of the camera in cooperation with Tartu Observatory. Krakul designed the electronics and embedded software for the stereo cameras and Incap Electronics Estonia produced the electronics.

The Crystalspace cameras will be part of Maxar Technologies' robotic arm called Sample Acquisition, Morphology Filtering, and Probing of Lunar Regolith (SAMPLR). Maxar’s SAMPLR robotic arm will be the first United States-provided robotic arm operated on the surface of Earth’s Moon since the Surveyor missions more than 50 years ago. SAMPLR is one of 12 externally developed payloads that NASA selected as part of its Artemis lunar program to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon by 2024 in preparation for a human mission to Mars.



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