Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all
The electronics in those rockets has to be all high reliability components. They have to work right every time. Not like cell phones or TVs. That's a big part of why they are so expensive.


That is one of the reasons.
The very first official W-2 earning job I ever had was at Penril Data in Rockville, Maryland. Penril was one of the very first companies to make computer modems. We used to get the IC's stuffed end to end in long plastic tubes where they could be "spilled out" onto the test bench.
Imagine a Pez dispenser except without the cartoon character head on top, and this "dispenser" was about a yard long.

We typically culled about seven to ten percent of them and at that time that was considered to be a pretty good cull rate. This was 1973.

Transistors, capacitors, resistors all came rolled up in bandolier style packaging, almost like bulk nails for a nail gun but the microchips were in the "Pez" dispenser tubes. Some of the components, like certain resistors and capacitors, were "mil-spec" and guaranteed to be within very tight tolerances.

By the way, most of the assemblers were not only low skilled immigrants, most of them had no idea what they were even building.
A disc capacitor, being round and shaped like a little "cookie" was a "galleta".
Ponga la galleta en el hoyo marcado A..."Put the little cookie in the hole marked A", and "ponga la cuenta en el pequeo agujero marcado B, "put the little bead in the little hole marked B".
Or "Ponga la lata pequea en el hoyo marcado con C, "put the little can in the hole marked C." Electrolytic capacitors were of course, little cans.

Capacitors were cookies and resistors were little striped beads. These little Mexican and Vietnamese ladies might as well have been doing beadwork.

When we started using CMOS chips, we had to ground their arms to eliminate static electricity, and some of the ladies thought they were being chained to their workstations, until we explained that they were to put the straps on and take them off themselves, and that they only needed to wear the strap when they were handling these specific parts.
Por la electricidad...

We had to pantomime the whole "rub your feet on the carpet and get a static electricity jolt" meme so that the ladies understood that this was about preventing the little spark from hurting these delicate parts.



"The Best of the Leon Russell Festivals" DVD
deepfreezefilms.com