MRO Waveguide Transfer Switch Anomaly

A waveguide transfer switch failed five months after the insertion of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter into Mars orbit. The likely cause was debris-induced RF breakdown that pyrolized a polyimide tape window in the switch, injecting additional debris that jammed the switch. Thirteen measures are recommended in the areas of waveguide fabrication, RF system/materials design, mission design, and exemptions to the JPL single-point failure policy.

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