Spacecraft Onboard Data Handling Publications

Publications authored or co-authored by members of the Space Technology Centre related to spacecraft onboard data handling are listed below:

  • Stuart Mills, Steve Parkes, Raffaele Vitulli
    International SpaceWire Conference Dundee 2007
    September 2007

    A major area of risk in spacecraft development is the integration of sub-systems late in the development cycle. Sub-systems are often developed by different organisations in different countries, making it expensive to bring them all together for testing. Although the SpaceWire standard has helped reduce incompatibility problems at the data link and physical layers, there is still the potential for problems at the higher layers. These problems may only be found during integration testing, which is late in the development cycle, and may therefore be very costly to address.

  • Steve Parkes, Martin Dunstan
    International SpaceWire Conference Dundee 2007
    September 2007

    The SpaceWire Conformance Tester is a device developed by STAR-Dundee for ESA to perform black-box testing of SpaceWire devices against the SpaceWire ECSS-E- 50-12A standard. The tests performed by the Conformance Tester are those which can be performed over a single SpaceWire link to the unit under test without cooperation from that unit. Thus link initialization behaviour and the response to data and control characters can be investigated while PCB layout and connector compliance cannot. The tests to be performed are launched from easy-to-use software running on the host PC with concise test results providing important feedback on how the unit under test performed.

  • Steve Parkes, Chris McClements, Martin Suess
    International SpaceWire Conference Dundee 2007
    September 2007

    SpaceFibre is a proposed very high speed serial data link intended to complement the existing SpaceWire high-speed data link standard. SpaceWire operates at speeds up to 200 Mbits/s in radiation tolerant technology. SpaceFibre will be able to operate over fibre optic and copper cable and support data rates of 2.5 Gbit/s and possibly higher.

  • Steve Parkes, Chris McClements, Zaf Mahmood
    International SpaceWire Conference Dundee 2007
    September 2007

    STAR-Dundee Ltd and University of Dundee have teamed with Actel to provide a range of SpaceWire IP cores optimised for the Actel RTAX-S radiation tolerant series of devices. FPGA technology is ideal for instrument development, allowing one off equipment development without the large non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs of ASICs. The RTAX-S family provides a large number of available logic gates enabling complete instrument interface and control systems to be integrated on a single device.

  • Steve Parkes, Chris McClements, Gerald Kempf, Stephan Fischer, Pierre Fabry, Agustin Leon
    International SpaceWire Conference Dundee 2007
    September 2007

    A SpaceWire routing switch comprises a number of SpaceWire link interfaces and a routing matrix. The routing matrix enables packets arriving at one link interface to be sent out of another link interface on the routing switch depending on address information at the start of each packet. Thus, SpaceWire packets from one node can be routed, through the switch, to any other node connected to the routing switch.

  • Peter Mendham, Stuart Mills, Steve Parkes
    International SpaceWire Conference Dundee 2007
    September 2007

    The success of the SpaceWire standard has resulted in the availability of a wide variety of SpaceWire devices. Allowing these devices to inter-operate easily is an open-problem with growing importance. This problem has two different manifestations: interoperability in ground and test equipment, where ease of use is the main driver; and interoperability of flight hardware where improvements could ease both hardware and software reuse and lower costs.

  • Iain Martin, Steve Parkes, Stuart Mills
    International SpaceWire Conference Dundee 2007
    September 2007

    STAR-Dundee provides both PCI and cPCI boards based on the SMCS-SpWFPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) device from Astrium. This FPGA is functionally representative of a radiation tolerant chip created by Astrium/Atmel. These PCI and cPCI devices are therefore ideally suited to support the development and testing of on-board SpaceWire components and systems intending to use the SMCS chip. VxWorks from WindRiver is a widely used real-time operating system (RTOS) in the embedded industry and is an important tool within the space industry. VxWorks driver and support software have therefore been developed for the SpaceWire-cPCI and PCI-2 boards. This paper presents the SpaceWire VxWorks driver architecture, discusses integration with Board Support Packages (BSPs) and describes the support software.

  • Martin Suess, Steve Parkes, Paul Crawford
    International SpaceWire Conference Dundee 2007
    September 2007

    The SpaceWire physical layer comprising twisted pair cables and micro-miniature D-type connectors is specified in detail in the SpaceWire standard ECSS-E-50-12A. In some cases the physical layer defined in the standard is not fulfilling all requirements of a specific application. The cables as defined in the standard are quite rigid and not handy for use in the laboratory and for SpaceWire connections over very long distances (>10 m) cables with lower loss are required. For this purpose cables with stronger gauge as well as different types of connectors have been proposed. In order to be able to assess the consequences of these modifications a test setup for SpaceWire cable and connector characterisation has been developed and a set of performance parameters to be measured have been defined.

  • Albert Ferrer-Florit, Martin Suess
    International SpaceWire Conference Dundee 2007
    September 2007

    The SpaceWire Plug-and-Play protocol (SpW PnP) aims to provide a set of common features for SpaceWire devices to facilitate recognition and configuration of SpaceWire networks. This paper presents a methodology for network discovery and configuration compatible with the SpW PnP protocol defined by the SpW PnP Working Group. It supports arbitrary network topology changes and provides fault tolerance features without requiring any manual configuration. Nodes and routers with identical hardware can be uniquely identified, and polling or active notification methods are used to register a new device in the network.

  • Albert Ferrer-Florit, Wahida Gasti
    International SpaceWire Conference Dundee 2007
    September 2007

    The SpW Remote Terminal Controller (RTC) ASIC is a single chip embedded system designed to effectively perform data handling at platform level and powerful data processing at payload level. One of its key features is the implementation of two highly configurable SpaceWire interfaces.

  • Hiroki Hihara, Shuichi Moriyama, Toru Tamura, Takayuki Tohma, Kenji Kitade, Steve Parkes, Stuart Mills, Masaharu Nomachi, Tadayuki Takahashi, Takeshi Takashima
    International SpaceWire Conference Dundee 2007
    September 2007

    Protocol analyser for SpaceWire with RMAP (Remote Memory Access Protocol) has been developed for heterogeneous computer platforms. SpaceWire CUBA software (Space Cube Analysis Software) is a portable protocol analyser supporting RMAP, which is developed in collaboration among University of Dundee (UoD), NEC TOSHIBA Space Systems (NTSpace), Osaka University and ISAS/JAXA (Institute of Space and Astronautical Science / Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency).

  • Peter Mendham, Steve Parkes, Stuart Mills, Chris McClements
    58th IAC (International Astronautical Congress)
    September 2007

    SpaceWire has proved very successful since the release of the standard by ECSS.   This success is due to the versatility of SpaceWire and its inherent simplicity and low implementation cost.  Beyond the requirement for each packet to be lead by an address and terminated by an end-of-packet marker, SpaceWire does not specify the contents of each packet.  The proposed SpaceWire Protocol Identifier standard (currently in draft) provides a method for SpaceWire packets to carry higher-layer protocols. The Remote Memory Access Protocol (RMAP) has been proposed (also in draft) as has the possibility of a protocol to support Plug and Play on SpaceWire networks.  

  • S. Mills, S. Parkes, N. O’Gribin
    DASIA (Data Systems in Aerospace) 2007
    May 2007

    The SpaceWire standard was published in 2003 with the aim of providing a standard for onboard communications, defining the physical and data link layers of an interconnection, in order to improve re usability, reliability and to reduce the cost of mission development. The many benefits which it provides mean that it has already been used in a number of missions, both in Europe and throughout the world. Recent work by the SpaceWire community has included the development of higher level protocols for SpaceWire, such as the Remote Memory Access Protocol (RMAP) which can be used for many purposes, including the configuration of SpaceWire devices.

  • S. Parkes, M. Suess, C. McClements, M. Dunstan, P. Mendham
    DASIA (Data Systems in Aerospace) 2007
    May 2007

    SpaceFibre is a proposed very high speed serial data link intended to complement the existing SpaceWire high-speed data link standard. SpaceWire operates at speeds up to 200 Mbits/s in radiation tolerant technology. SpaceFibre will be able to operate over fibre optic and copper cable and support data rates of 2.5 Gbit/s and possibly higher.

  • S. Parkes, S. Mills, C. McClements
    57th IAC (International Astronautical Congress)
    October 2006

    The SpaceWire standard was written with the aim of providing a communications network for use onboard spacecraft, which not only provides high bandwidth, but also reduces cost through compatibility and reusability. SpaceWire has a simple interface meaning that it can be readily implemented in a range of different technologies. The standard defines “links, nodes and routers”, but does not define any higher level communications protocols other than packet encapsulation. This helps to keep SpaceWire interfaces simple, but the lack of standardization at these higher layers does not improve reusability above the lower layers. This paper describes the protocol identifier field to be added to SpaceWire to provide support for higher layer protocols. It then goes on to describe the Remote Memory Access Protocol, a protocol which provides a standard method of reading and writing to registers and memory within a SpaceWire unit, and the first protocol to make use of SpaceWire’s protocol identifier field.

  • S. Parkes, R. Schnurr, J. Marquart, G. Menke, M. Ciccone
    Spaceops 2006
    June 2006

    The Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) is developing recommendations for communication services onboard spacecraft. Today many different communication buses are used on spacecraft requiring software with the same basic functionality to be rewritten for each type of bus. This impacts on the application software resulting in custom software for almost every new mission. The Spacecraft Onboard Interface Services (SOIS) working group aims to provide a consistent interface to various onboard buses and sub-networks, enabling a common interface to the application software.

  • 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.