Electrical Short Circuits due to Tin Whiskers

A NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) investigation of intermittent electrical shorts in the Cassini space probe determined the cause of the shorts was most likely due to the presence of tin whiskers on certain components within the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) analytical instrument. The NASA technical community and commercial space enterprises need to have continued awareness that tin whiskers still cause failures on existing spacecraft and may be found on new systems.

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