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Spacecraft computer technology at Southwest Research InstituteSouthwest Research Institute (SwRI) has developed and delivered spacecraft computers for a number of different near-Earth-orbit spacecraft including shuttle experiments and SDIO free-flyer experiments. We describe the evolution of the basic SwRI spacecraft computer design from those weighing in at 20 to 25 lb and using 20 to 30 W to newer models weighing less than 5 lb and using only about 5 W, yet delivering twice the processing throughput. Because of their reduced size, weight, and power, these newer designs are especially applicable to planetary instrument requirements. The basis of our design evolution has been the availability of more powerful processor chip sets and the development of higher density packaging technology, coupled with more aggressive design strategies in incorporating high-density FPGA technology and use of high-density memory chips. In addition to reductions in size, weight, and power, the newer designs also address the necessity of survival in the harsh radiation environment of space. Spurred by participation in such programs as MSTI, LACE, RME, Delta 181, Delta Star, and RADARSAT, our designs have evolved in response to program demands to be small, low-powered units, radiation tolerant enough to be suitable for both Earth-orbit microsats and for planetary instruments. Present designs already include MIL-STD-1750 and Multi-Chip Module (MCM) technology with near-term plans to include RISC processors and higher-density MCM's. Long term plans include development of whole-core processors on one or two MCM's.
Document ID
19930019624
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Shirley, D. J. (Southwest Research Inst. San Antonio, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Workshop on Advanced Technologies for Planetary Instruments, Part 1
Subject Category
COMPUTER OPERATIONS AND HARDWARE
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19930019575Analytic PrimaryWorkshop on Advanced Technologies for Planetary Instruments, part 1