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80 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2020 Andy Shaughnessy is managing editor of Design007 Magazine. He has been covering PCB design for 19 years. He can be reached by clicking here. wearables, industrial, and consumer/handheld devices—are exploding with new products that require flexible circuits. I think flex brings out the creativity in OEM design teams in a way that a standard PCB just can't. Flex is almost fun compared to rig- id boards. As the miniaturization trend con- tinues, more and more companies are find- ing themselves forced into using flex and rig- id-flex because rigid boards just aren't reliable enough for their products. Flexible circuits are also changing much fast- er than rigid boards. I've said before that the flex community reminds me of the Wild West because it's constantly evolving. It can be dif- ficult to keep up with all of the changes in ma- terials, chemicals, and processes. One of the best ways to stay on top of these changes is by getting involved with some of the IPC flex standards committees. If you're attending IPC APEX EXPO 2020, join one of the flex standards committees. There are four subcommittee meetings during the show, and they'd love to have your input. If you work with flex and rigid-flex circuits, you can help shape the standards that technologists around the world rely upon, and you'll stay ahead of the curve. This month, we bring you an article from Flexible Circuit Technologies that is based on their flex design guidelines with tips and tricks for designing single-layer, double-layer, and multilayer flex and rigid-flex, including advice on cutting costs. We also have a column from Joe Fjelstad of Verdant Electronics that focuses on the effects that unpredictable events have had on shaping our technology and some of the newest innovations coming that are just starting to ramp up. I'll be heading to DesignCon and IPC APEX EXPO later this month, and I hope to see you there. If you can't make it, don't worry; we'll bring you front-to-back coverage of these events. See you next month! FLEX007 Aviation Week & Space Technology is bestowing a prestigious Laureate award on NASA's pair of briefcase- size Mars Cube One spacecraft. Known as MarCO, they're the first CubeSats—compact spacecraft made up of cube- shaped units—to travel into deep space. Designed and built at NASA's Jet Propulsion Labora- tory in Pasadena, California, as a technology demonstra- tion, MarCO launched to the Red Planet last year with NA- SA's InSight lander. Using experimental radios and anten- nas, the pair relayed signals back to Earth that enabled In- Sight's team to observe the spacecraft's November 26, 2018, entry, descent, and land- ing on Mars in near real-time. They also sent back stun- ning images of Mars and performed some simple ra- dio science, transmitting sig- nals through the edge of Mars' atmosphere, all within a low-cost mission. "It's gratifying to see MarCO honored in this way. The accomplishments of the pair highlight the tremendous potential of small spacecraft to enhance our exploration efforts," said JPL Director Michael Watkins. This isn't the only honor for MarCO: It was named Small Satellite Mission of the Year in August by the Amer- ican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. "This is the MarCO team's second major aerospace award," said John Baker, JPL's program manager for small space- craft. "It's an honor to be rec- ognized in our field. But the real pleasure has been see- ing how the team's achieve- ments are inspiring future space projects around the world." (Source: NASA JPL) NASA's Briefcase-size MarCO Satellite Picks Up Honors

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