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Use of Field Programmable Gate Array Technology in Future Space AvionicsFulfilling NASA's new vision for space exploration requires the development of sustainable, flexible and fault tolerant spacecraft control systems. The traditional development paradigm consists of the purchase or fabrication of hardware boards with fixed processor and/or Digital Signal Processing (DSP) components interconnected via a standardized bus system. This is followed by the purchase and/or development of software. This paradigm has several disadvantages for the development of systems to support NASA's new vision. Building a system to be fault tolerant increases the complexity and decreases the performance of included software. Standard bus design and conventional implementation produces natural bottlenecks. Configuring hardware components in systems containing common processors and DSPs is difficult initially and expensive or impossible to change later. The existence of Hardware Description Languages (HDLs), the recent increase in performance, density and radiation tolerance of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), and Intellectual Property (IP) Cores provides the technology for reprogrammable Systems on a Chip (SOC). This technology supports a paradigm better suited for NASA's vision. Hardware and software production are melded for more effective development; they can both evolve together over time. Designers incorporating this technology into future avionics can benefit from its flexibility. Systems can be designed with improved fault isolation and tolerance using hardware instead of software. Also, these designs can be protected from obsolescence problems where maintenance is compromised via component and vendor availability.To investigate the flexibility of this technology, the core of the Central Processing Unit and Input/Output Processor of the Space Shuttle AP101S Computer were prototyped in Verilog HDL and synthesized into an Altera Stratix FPGA.
Document ID
20070019291
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Ferguson, Roscoe C. (United Space Alliance Houston, TX, United States)
Tate, Robert (United Space Alliance Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
October 30, 2005
Subject Category
Computer Operations and Hardware
Meeting Information
24th Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC)/IEEE/AIAA(Washington, DC)
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NAS9-20000
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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