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60 The PCB Magazine • August 2016 by Barry Matties Stan Heltzel is a materials engineer work- ing for the European Space Agency, and he is tasked with the job of procuring and qualifying PCBs that end up in satellites. I met with Stan at EIPC's Summer Conference to discuss his pre- sentation on qualifying a fabricator, his role at the ESA, and updating of space standards. Barry Matties: Stan, please start by explaining a little about what you do. Stan Heltzel: I'm a materials engineer at ESA and my responsibility is the qualification of printed circuit boards and the development of technology and qualifying the technology for space projects. Matties: Everything you do is all about high reli- ability? Heltzel: Yes. Matties: You gave a presentation today on the qualification process, and talked a lot about the various approaches, the testing, and so on. What did you want the audience to take away from your presentation? Heltzel: First of all, it's the interaction between ESA, the national space agencies, contractors for satellite integration, and PCB manufactur- ers. They are working together in various orga- nizational bodies and trying to address prob- lems that no one organization could ever solve, so we're doing that jointly. For instance, the nicest example I can think of is the cleanliness of the raw materials where PCB manufacturers were not in a position to ask for different qual- ity standards from laminate suppliers until we got together as a group and addressed it all to- gether. Matties: Today you were showing some images of where you had peeled back the copper and found foreign debris in the mix. Is that something that's commonly found, or is that an anomaly? Heltzel: I think we should consider it an anom- aly. We're used to good quality materials that we get from laminate suppliers, but what we want is to be able to set the bar so we are able to distinguish between bad batches, if they oc- FEATURE INTERVIEW The European Space Agency on Reliability

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