Publications

Abstracts for all the papers authored by the Space Technology Centre are listed below:

  • S. Parkes, M. Dunstan, S. Mills, I. Martin, C. McClements, R. Vitulli, P. Fabry
    DASIA (Data Systems in Aerospace) 2006
    May 2006

    SpaceWire is a data-handling network designed for use onboard spacecraft which has been widely adopted by the world’s space agencies and is being used in many space missions. Development and support equipment is available for SpaceWire from several suppliers comprising general interface boards, used for connecting a host computer to a SpaceWire network. This paper describes some of the more advanced tools that have been developed by the University of Dundee and STAR-Dundee Ltd.

  • G. Rakow, R. Schnurr, S. Parkes
    IEEE Aerospace Conference 2006
    March 2006

    SpaceWire is becoming a popular solution for satellite high-speed data buses, because it is a simple standard that provides great flexibility for a wide range of system requirements. It is simple in packet format and protocol, allowing users to easily tailor their implementation for their specific application. Some of the attractive aspects of SpaceWire that make it easy to implement also make it hard for future reuse. Protocol reuse is difficult because SpaceWire does not have a defined mechanism to communicate with the higher layers of the protocol stack. This has forced users of SpaceWire to define unique packet formats and define how these packets are to be processed.

  • S. M. Parkes, P. Armbruster
    14th IEEE-NPSS Real Time Conference (2005)
    June 2005

    SpaceWire is a real-time communications network for use onboard spacecraft. It has been designed to connect together sensors, mass-memories, processing units, and downlink telemetry sub-systems onboard a spacecraft into a lightweight, highperformance data-handling network. This paper provides an introduction to SpaceWire and the SpaceWire standard. It describes the key features of SpaceWire and gives an overview of several radiation tolerant chips that are being developed to support the use of SpaceWire. The many current and planned space missions that are using or plan to use SpaceWire for onboard datahandling are also introduced.

  • S. Mills, S. Parkes, R. Vitulli
    DASIA (Data Systems in Aerospace) 2005
    May 2005

    The current methods of building spacecraft often involve partners spread across several countries developing sub-systems separately. Only once these sub-systems are complete are they brought together and integration testing performed. Faults identified at this late stage of development can be very costly.

  • S. Parkes, C. McClements
    DASIA (Data Systems in Aerospace) 2005
    May 2005

    SpaceWire is a spacecraft onboard communications network used to connect together electronic sub-systems like sensors, mass-memory, processors, control and telemetry/telecommand units. SpaceWire provides high bandwidth communication using point-to-point links between sub-systems or networked interconnection using routing switches to forward packets of data across the network. SpaceWire has a simple interface which can be readily implemented in a range of different chip technologies including Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). The SpaceWire standard defines “links, nodes and routers.” It does not define any higher level communications standards for operating over the SpaceWire network other than straightforward packet encapsulation. This paper describes the Remote Memory Access Protocol for SpaceWire which provides a standard method of reading and writing to registers and memory within a SpaceWire unit by sending a command and where appropriate receiving a reply across the network.

  • S. Parkes, M. Dunstan, I. Martin, S. Mancuso
    DASIA (Data Systems in Aerospace) 2005
    May 2005

    PANGU (Planet and Asteroid Natural Scene Generation Utility) is a software tool for supporting the development of autonomously guided planetary landers. It is designed to support work on vision-based lander navigation, vision and LIDAR based hazard detection and multi-sensor data fusion for planetary lander navigation and piloting. It may also be used for planetary rover navigation and path planning activities and for rover operator training. PANGU can synthesise realistic planetary surfaces representative of the Moon, Mercury, Mars, Asteroids or Comets. It can simulate cameras and LIDAR instruments viewing the surface.

  • M. Dunstan, S. Parkes, S. Mancuso
    DASIA (Data Systems in Aerospace) 2005
    May 2005

    This paper describes an image processing chip developed by the University of Dundee to support vision-based navigation of a planetary lander. The chip detects features in an image and tracks them from one image frame to the next. It manages the list of feature points and their status. Information about tracked feature points is sent to a Guidance and Navigation Control (GNC) computer for integration with information from the Inertial Measurement Unit. The connection to the GNC computer is via two SpaceWire links. A third SpaceWire link is used to control the camera providing images to the image processing chip.

  • V. Silva, S. Parkes
    6th International Conference on Dynamics and Control of Systems and Structure in Space (2004)
    July 2004
  • V. Silva, S. Parkes
    DASIA (Data Systems in Aerospace) 2004
    June 2004

    Recent planetary lander missions to Mars, such as UK’s Beagle 2, and NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity have highlighted the need for further research on vision based navigation and hazard detection and avoidance systems for autonomous planetary landers in order to achieve safe, soft, and precise landings. Landing on the Moon, on Mars or other planetary bodies, close to a predetermined target landing spot, in an area of rough terrain, is a difficult and risky task. Accurate navigation relative to the planetary surface is necessary, together with the detection of possible hazards like boulders or steep slopes. This is being made possible by development in vision-based guidance techniques and on-board processing technology.

  • J. Hughes, S. Parkes
    International Conference on Software Engineering Research and Practice, 1 (2004)
    June 2004

    The development of object-oriented design expertise requires the acquisition of a number of skills, including skill to consider tradeoffs between alternative designs.  Observational studies of student learners and data logs of their CASE tool usage revealed the absence of reflective consideration of alternative designs.  An experiment is described in which students were required to produce more than one design alternative: the resulting designs were scored and found to be of better quality than single designs produced by a control group.  Interv

  • C. Ramsay, S. Parkes
    DASIA (Data Systems In Aerospace) 2004
    June 2004

    Producing detailed forms of design documentation, such as pseudocode and structured flowcharts, to describe the procedures of a software system:

    1. allows software developers to model and discuss their understanding of a problem and the design of a  solution free from the syntax of a programming language,
    2. facilitates deeper involvement of non-technical stakeholders, such as the customer or project managers,  whose influence ensures the quality, correctness and timeliness of the resulting system,
    3. forms comprehensive documentation of the system for its future maintenance, reuse and/or redeployment.

    However, such forms of documentation require effort to create and maintain.

  • Iain Martin, Steve Parkes, Martin Dunstan
    DASIA (Data Systems in Aerospace) 2004
    June 2004

    ESA is developing autonomous planetary guidance and lander systems for exploratory spacecraft. Ongoing research work at the University of Dundee is aiding this effort through the development of simulated planetary objects to facilitate the development and testing of autonomous navigation, guidance and landing systems. Realistic asteroids have been simulated in three dimensions using fractal techniques and crater models. An innovative use of Poisson Faulting has been developed to create irregularly shaped objects with a controllably rough surface. Simple craters are mapped onto the model to create a highly realistic, simulated asteroid.

  • S. Parkes, C. McClements
    Eighth International Conference on Space Operations (SpaceOps) 2004
    May 2004

    SpaceWire is a communications network for use onboard spacecraft. It is designed to connect high data-rate
    sensors, large solidstate memories, processing units and the downlink telemetry subsystem providing an integrated onboard, data-handling network. SpaceWire links are serial, highspeed (2 Mbits/sec to 400 Mbits/sec), bi-directional, full-duplex, point-to-point data links which connect together SpaceWire equipment. Application information is sent along a SpaceWire link in discrete packets. Control and time information can also be sent along SpaceWire links. SpaceWire is defined in the European Cooperation for Space Standardization ECSSE5012A standard and is being used on several ESA and NASA missions.

  • S. Parkes, I. Martin, M. Dunstan
    Eighth International Conference on Space Operations (2004)
    May 2004

    Planetary landers have, in the past, relied on physical means to protect the payload from the shock of impact on the surface. These landers, starting their descent from orbit with their initial position only known to a few kilometres, were not required to land at a particular landing spot, but only to land safely. Today, much more knowledge, obtained from earlier landings and high-resolution orbiting instruments, is available about the surfaces of some planets than was available when previous landers were designed. Missions are becoming more demanding in terms of the accuracy of landing and significant effort is now focused on the design of surface relative navigation systems.

  • J. Hughes, S. Parkes
    26th International Conference on Software Engineering
    May 2004

    An investigation of the behaviours of student software developers learning to apply object-oriented analysis and design techniques identified aspects of the modelling process as particularly problematic for individuals: these related to the exploration of design alternatives, and the evaluation of a design-in-progress. These aspects were less problematic for students operating in group working circumstances. An experiment was designed to test if student performance could be improved by emulating group behaviour with respect to the evaluation of a design. Results showed that solution quality improved if individuals were required to verbalise the design process, and that the process of self-explaining could contribute to a more elegant solution. Examination of verbal protocols suggests that the verbalisation process resulted in increased reflection upon the quality of a design, and consequently the identification of errors and omissions.

  • J. Hughes, S. Parkes
    Proceedings of the Fourth Finnish/Baltic Sea Conference on Computer Science Education (2004)
    January 2004

    This paper describes the application of CASE tool user activity logging to explore work practices of computing students during the software design process. The behaviour of students designing software in groups was compared to the behaviour of students designing software individually. The aim of the research was to identify teaching or learning approaches that may assist students to advance their abilities in software engineering.

  • S.Mills, S. Parkes
    ISWS International SpaceWire Seminar 2003
    November 2003

    The SpaceWire standard defines a network designed for handling payload data and control information onboard a spacecraft. Although one of the main goals of the SpaceWire standard is to enhance reliability, there is no end-to-end transport layer defined within the SpaceWire standard. The key functions provided by a transport layer are be end-to-end flow control and a retry mechanism to recover automatically from occasional lost or corrupted packets. This paper describes research being done at the University of Dundee in conjunction with NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre to develop an efficient and effective transport layer that can be used on a SpaceWire network.

  • S. Parkes, C. McClements, I. Martin, S. Mills, R. Manston
    ISWS International SpaceWire Seminar 2003
    November 2003

    With the adoption of SpaceWire on many space missions the ready availability of intellectual property (IP) cores, components, software drivers, development support, and test equipment becomes a major issue for those developing satellites and their electronic subsystems. A SpaceWire CODEC designed by the University of Dundee and implemented in VHDL will soon be available as an IP core from ESA for European space projects. A SpaceWire router chip is also being designed by Dundee together with Austrian Aerospace and will shortly be implemented in an Atmel radiation tolerant ASIC. This CODEC IP and router ASIC are key components in SpaceWire systems.

  • G. Kempf, C. Togel, S. Parkes, C. McClements, P. Fabry
    ISWS International SpaceWire Seminar 2003
    November 2003

    The SpaceWire standard provides a set of conformance criteria to ensure that SpaceWire interfaces are compatible with one another. Conformance is specified in terms of the sections of the SpaceWire standard that must be adhered to in order to claim conformance to the standard. This paper explains the operation of a SpaceWire Conformance Tester developed for ESA and the level of conformance testing that can be achieved.

  • S. Parkes, I. Martin, C. McClements, R. Manston, S. Fowell
    ISWS International SpaceWire Seminar 2003
    November 2003

    SpaceWire nodes are sensors, processors, mass-memory, control units and/or telemetry sub-systems that need to use the high-speed, onboard communication services of SpaceWire. The Analog Devices 21020 DSP processor, in its radiation tolerant version produced by Atmel, has been and is being widely used on many space missions. There is a growing need for a replacement DSP processor as the end of life of the Atmel 21020 DSP draws near. Ready integration of any new DSP processor into the SpaceWire network is important. To investigate effective DSP processor to SpaceWire integration, the University of Dundee has developed a DSP board using one of the latest DSP processors from Analog Devices and a SpaceWire router. This board is now operating as a research platform for SpaceWire to DSP integration and also for onboard distributed object system development.