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An on-board processor for in-orbit verification based on a multi-FPGA platform

: Hofmann, Alexander; Glein, Robért; Kollmannthaler, Bernd; Wansch, Rainer


Heuberger, A.; Elst, G.; Hanke, R. ; Fraunhofer-Institut für Integrierte Schaltungen -IIS-, Erlangen:
Microelectronic systems. Circuits, systems and applications
Berlin: Springer, 2011 (Informatik)
ISBN: 978-3-642-23070-7
ISBN: 3-642-23070-9
ISBN: 978-3-642-23071-4 (Online)
ISSN: 0863-503X
Aufsatz in Buch
Fraunhofer IIS ()

The increasing demand for higher data rates, smaller antenna apertures, or less power at the uplink for mobile devices requires air-interface and application specific processing, especially for telecommunication satellites. Only on satellites for dedicated applications or with a short limited lifetime, on-board processing is partly used, but processing on-board improves the system performance or increases the system capacity in several cases. Today's on-board processing for satellite communication is mostly based on ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) chips, which have their main drawback in the limited flexibility. In order to demonstrate and validate the flexibility of an FPGA-based on-board processor (OBP) for space applications the Fraunhofer IIS is involved in a so-called in-orbit verification (IOV) payload on the Heinrich-Hertz-Satellite. During the development of an on-board processor for space applications, the main challenge is to ensure a typical life time of 15 years for the hard-, firm- and software under the given environmental conditions. Alternatively, an FPGA platform can be reconfigured for novel communication protocols. In order to investigate new standards for telecommunication satellite systems, the Fraunhofer IIS is developing an OBP platform, based on four FPGAs. The OBP will be embedded into the H2Sat satellite, which will be launched in 2016 and will be located on a geostationary earth orbit (GEO). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first completely reconfigurable platform based on four leading-edge radiation-hardened FPGAs in the geosynchronous orbit for telecommunication satellites.