On-Board Computer System Architecture

Oct. 01, 2012 to July 31, 2018

Computer systems for space flight applications require ever increasing amounts of computing power to enable (on-the-fly) preprocessing of large data sets from sophisticated experiments and payloads, or even to perform real time computation of safety-critical control commands. Without this, spacecrafts would be unable to perform complex docking maneuvers or landing approaches autonomously. Besides meeting high performance requirements, the on-board computer systems must also provide interfaces that allow their embedment in a spacecraft´s often redundant communications infrastructure or support redundant ports for instruments with very high data transfer rates in the gigabit range.

With this in mind, the On-Board Computer-System Architecture (OBC-SA) project developed an architectural framework for future on-board computer systems. It enables the modular integration of systems with different performance and functional characteristics into the IT infrastructure of a spacecraft. To this end, Fraunhofer FOKUS developed a system consisting of two fault-tolerant on-board computers.

The project is supported by the German Arospace Center's Space Administration (DLR) with funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).