Electronic, electric and electromechanic (EEE-)parts form the basis of all electronics. They significantly determine quality and reliability of electronic systems.
At the beginning of German spaceflight in the sixties, German industry needed a qualification system with regard to reliable parts and materials that coped with the new requirements in space. In the founder years, spaceflight was state-financed and primarily conducted in Germany for orbital research tasks. Therefore, the Ministry of Research and Technology commissioned the Space Association for Space Research (GfW, merged in DLR) to establish a qualification system for the German space industry in Europe.
In the seventies, the European Space Agency (ESA) was set up in order to consolidate European Spaceflight and to become more independent of the USA. For this reason, a European parts industry was required as well. Thus, in 1974, the European Space Agency created the ESA/SCC-System (Space Component Coordination) employing the German GfW-Specifications in order to support the European component manufacturers producing EEE-parts for space application. In the ESA/SCC-System, the former DFVLR (Deutsche Forschungs- und Versuchsanstalt für Luft- und Raumfahrt), now DLR, took on representation of the German manufacturers’ and users’ interests. Parts promotion has a beneficial effect on product profits of parts and equipment, e.g. the traveling wave tube amplifier of Bosch Telecom. The allocation of 3 million DM in subsidies for EEE-parts qualification resulted in a sales increase from 5 to 68 million DM in the years 1994 to 1996.
Between 1990 and 1998, DARA Product Assurance took over the function of parts qualification. Due to the fusion of DARA and DLR, the sections Standardization and EEE-Parts (NB) within the Quality- and Product Assurance Department (QP) now act for the German interests within ESA/SCC system (as of 2003: ESCC [European Space Components Coordination])-System. In October 2002, ESA, National Agencies, and EUROSPACE launched the latest chapter in the history of space qualification system by signing of the “ESCC-Charter” (PDF-Download).
To assure more effectiveness and closer collaboration with the German Space Industry, DLR decided for a coperation with TESAT Spacecom (formerly BOSCH Satcom), due to featuring substantial experience concerning EEE-parts procurement. TESAT-experts of variable parts sections enable an ideal support of DLR parts activities. Considering the task sharing, TESAT Spacecom is responsible for the technical performance of qualifications and manufacturers contacts, while DLR covers the executive function within ESCC and European Space Agency contacts. DLR is represented in the SCSB (Space Component Steering Board), PSWG (Policy and Standards Working Group), EPPL-TA (European Preferred Parts List - Technical Authority), and in the ESCC Executive. The TESAT employees are members of the CTB (Component Technology Board); moreover, they are represented in various CTB-Working Groups. SCSB, PSWG and CTB are organizational bodies within the ESCC-System.