Especially under rough conditions, such as in the aerospace, computer based control systems have to meet high requirements. Stockbyte

Fraunhofer FOKUS unveils most powerful space-grade CompactPCI board

News from Feb. 28, 2018

Press Release – Fraunhofer FOKUS has developed a space-grade CompactPCI board capable of real-time on-board processing of large and mission critical data using a hi-rel version of the commercial P4080 processor from Teledyne e2v.

As part of a German project named On-Board Computer System Architecture (OBC-SA), funded by the German Space Agency (DLR) to develop an architectural framework for future space born on-board computer systems, the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communications Systems FOKUS has developed what is now considered to be the most powerful space-grade CompactPCI board for commercial space applications. The compact and robust design of the OBC-SA framework is based on the new open cPCI Serial Space™ industrial standard (PICMG® CPCI-S.1 R1.0) for future space computer systems and provides communication connections for all subsystems. The OBC-SA framework and modular design allow for easy configuration of future on-board computer systems from different computer and I/O components meaning functionality, computing power, redundancy and I/O interfaces can be flexibly adapted to mission-specific requirements.

“Future missions require a high level of autonomy and thus an extra high requirement for computing power to be executed safely and reliably. With expensive space-qualified components, possibilities for extensive autonomy, i.e. robotic control and image processing, were limited. Fraunhofer FOKUS has set itself the aim to use so called COTS-Components (Commercial-Off-The-Shelf) with the high processing power of modern processors for space applications, simultaneously reducing the cost of construction of high-performance computer systems for space as a result of the high potential of reuse concepts, architectures and components from other domains” commented Friedrich Schön, Director of the Business Unit for Quality Engineering (SQC) at Fraunhofer FOKUS in Berlin.

The processor at the heart of this world-class board is a hi-rel version of the QorIQ® multi-core P4080 from Teledyne e2v. Qualified by Teledyne e2v for aerospace applications, the P4080 uses low-power silicon-on-insulator technology that is known to be less-radiation sensitive than conventional CMOS technology. Using this commercially designed processor in the CompactPCI board has enabled a 50 times increase in computing power compared to using a traditional space-grade processor.

Thierry Bissuel, Vice President & General Manager of Data and Signal Processing Solutions at Teledyne e2v, said, “As space continues to become more commercially accessible, we're seeing a huge rise in the number of satellite constellation projects that have much shorter development cycles than historical space programs. These constellation projects have forged their own space qualification and performance requirements that traditional space designed processors cannot meet. We meet these needs by providing advanced commercial processors, qualified to industry space standards in one third of the time compared to traditional space processor delivery lead times.”

The board will be present at Embedded World Exhibition, from 27 February until 1 March 2018 in Nuremberg, Germany, on the PICMG booth (Hall 3A, booth 624).