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Bubble Memory, Microelectronic Hybrid, Milstar Communications Satellite

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This object is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


Manufacturer: General Electric Space Systems Division

Country of Origin: United States of America

Dimensions: Overall: 4 in. wide x 1/4 in. deep (10.2 x 0.6cm)
Other: 1/4 in. deep x 4 in. long x 4 in. wide (0.6 x 10.2 x 10.2cm)

Materials: Overall: copper, composite resins, gold, plastics

This artifact is a memory control device designed for use in the first generation of Milstar military communications satellites.

To meet weight and space constraints on the spacecraft, the design achieved complex function in a small size by the use of layering. Beneath the visible surface of electrical devices and connections are six additional conducting layers (and twelve non-conducting layers). The buried conducting layers provide additional pathways for connecting the electrical devices on the hybrid's top layer. The completed hybrid is an ingenious puzzle in which more than three hundred chips and devices are integrated through several thousand connections. The gold-colored wire pins on the sides of the case connect the hybrid to a circuit board or electronic device.

This design represented the state of the art in miniaturization for such hybrids as of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Lockheed Martin donated this artifact to the Museum in 1998.

Gift of Lockheed Martin

Inventory number: A19980305001

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