On the 5th of July, 2002, STAR-Dundee came in to existence. This month we are celebrating our 15th Birthday!
Our Chief Operating Officer Stuart Mills said:
‘I don’t think any of the company founders would have imagined how the company would grow in those 15 years, and the many successes we would have in that time. I’m sure they are all as proud as I am that, despite many changes, the company still maintains the same principles as we had when we were first established.’
We would like to share 15 of our highlights with you:
On the 1st of December 2002 STAR-Dundee won a SMART Award from the Scottish Executive. This £45,000 grant was to help fund the development of a SpaceWire Link Analyser. Steve Parkes, was presented with the SMART award by Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Jim Wallace in Glasgow.
On the 22nd of May 2006 STAR-Dundee was awarded a second SMART Award to fund SpaceWire developments. Stuart Mills, STAR-Dundee’s Chief Operating Officer, was presented with the aSMART Awardward by Allan Wilson MSP, Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning, in Glasgow.
PANGU v4.01 is now available complete with a variety of model scenarios ranging from synthetic surfaces, asteroids to the Moon and Mars. The experienced team at STAR-Dundee holds a variety of case studies and imagery generated by PANGU, and can work with you to find the right solution for your mission.
PANGU v4.20 will soon be availible.
What is PANGU?
PANGU is a software package primarily used for modelling and rendering astronomical bodies such as the Moon, Mars and asteroids, to support the design and testing of vision-guided spacecraft and landers. Developed by the University of Dundee with support from ESA, PANGU offers a high degree of realism while operating at near real-time speeds on modern desktop PCs with graphics cards that support OpenGL 4.0 and programmable GPU shaders.
PANGU can combine real data such as Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) representing whole planets, higher-resolution DEMs of landing site regions and synthetic terrain to create multi-resolution models that can simulate the full descent of a planetary lander. Standard DEM projections are supported as are combining whole planet models with DEMs and atmosphere models. The ability to manage large models (i.e. greater than 64 GB) enables full lander descents to be simulated to a high degree of realism, with resolution varying from kilometres at the start of the descent to centimetres around the target landing site. Asteroids can be simulated by either importing shape models or by generating fully synthetic asteroid models.
The initial DEM can be obtained from instruments such as NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Laser Altimeter or ESA’s High Resolution Stereo Camera. Alternatively, a DEM with user-defined roughness can be generated by PANGU using fractal techniques.
Base DEMs can be interpolated with fractal detail to achieve a model resolution that is much higher than that of the original DEM. Realistic craters can be added using statistical models of properties such as age and diameter distribution; ageing factors ensure that the resulting craters match those observed in images of real terrain. Boulders and positive relief features can be added to the surface controlled by various statistical distributions. For models of Mars, barchan dune fields can be modelled and craters can have flat bottoms as if filled by dust. An albedo/colour map can be applied for extra realism.
PANGU has the ability to generate camera, LIDAR and RADAR images from any position and orientation to support off-line and closed-loop simulations of planetary landing, surface roving and in-orbit rendezvous operations. The physics-based camera model includes features such as shot noise, thermal dark current, read-out noise, radiation events, photo-response non-uniformity and radial optical distortion. Pixel values can be represented at floating point precision or digitised to match ADCs with up to 16-bits. Integration with NAIF/SPICE allows images to be generated using publicly available historic and predicted data for planetary bodies and spacecraft, and the time of interest.
The practical applications of PANGU are as vast as the technology itself. From dynamic elements such as articulated rover vehicles to Martian scenes with movable dust devils, PANGU offers a realistic experience of bodies in our solar system.
The article written by Dundee University staff, Roddy Isles and Michael Alexander stated: ‘Dundee has become an unlikely centre for space technology research and development – many of the satellites and shuttles launched into orbit have operate with SpaceWire circuitry designed and built here, the work of Professor Stephen Parkes and colleagues now commercialised in the shape of STAR-Dundee, a Courier Business of the Year.’ In 2013 we were awarded Courier Business of the year.
The article on page 14 mentioned STAR-Dundee alongside fellow University of Dundee spin-out Exscientia:
‘Kelly (Dr Orla Kelly) points to two of the most successful university spinouts; STAR-Dundee which was the commercialisation vehicle for the universities work on the SpaceWire Standard and Exscientia, a company specialising in artificial intelligence drug design.’
‘STAR-Dundee markets networks based on the SpaceWire Standard. This is a highly specified network that is designed specifically for the high data-throughput rates found on spacecraft. It is a network designed to connect together processing units, sensors, memory devices and telemetry/telecommand sub-systems.It offers numerous advantages to organisations like NASA and the European Space Agency, both of which are STAR-Dundee clients.
For a start, it reduces development costs by making it easy to integrate different sub-components into a total system, and it helps these agencies to slot individual components into different mission promoting reuse of systems.’
STAR-Dundee are attending DASIA from the 30th May to the 1st June, where we will be demonstrating the SpaceFibre Multi-Lane interface implemented in the radiation-tolerant Microsemi RTG4 FPGA as well as the SpaceFibre Router PXI card. We’ll also be demonstrating the new STAR FireMk3 hardware and SpaceFibre link analysis software.
Our CEO Steve Parkes will present on SpaceFibre: Capabilities, Components and Kit on Wednesday the 31st of May at 10:30 (CEST) in room B.
STAR-Dundee are attending the UK Space Conference 2017 from the 30th May to the 1st June, where we will be available at booth B15 in the exhibition area. From here we will be demonstrating our SpaceWire and SpaceFibre equipment including our new STAR Fire Mk3 unit.
The STAR Fire Mk3 can transmit and receive SpaceWire and SpaceFibre traffic and is also a SpaceFibre Link Analyser. SpaceFibre traffic can be transmitted and received either from a host PC or using built-in advanced data generators and checkers. Powerful software allows SpaceFibre traffic captured by the STAR Fire Mk3 to be displayed in multiple views with varying levels of detail. As SpaceFibre is compatible with SpaceWire at the network level, the STAR Fire Mk3 can also be used to transmit and receive SpaceWire traffic over a SpaceFibre link.
STAR-Dundee has partnered with Microsemi for this year’s Microsemi Space Forum. Space Forum 2017 starts this Thursday (18th of May) with a North American online event. As a partner of the Space Forum, STAR-Dundee have created a video demonstrating SpaceWire and SpaceFibre for the Microsemi RTG4. This will be premiered on Thursday as part of the online event.
Microsemi Space Forum partner videos including STAR-Dundee’s will be aired between 9:30-10:00, 11:15-12:15, and 14:00-14:30. All times are PST. For more information and the agenda of the event please see Microsemi’s website: https://www.microsemi.com/spaceforum/space-forum#agenda
STAR-Dundee will also be exhibiting at Microsemi Space Forum, Europein Noordwijk, Netherlands, on the 20th of June and Microsemi Space Forum, India at The Leela Palace, Bangalore on the 25th of July and Courtyard Marriott Ahmedabad, India on the 27th of July.
Check out all the 2017 events we will be attending on our home page.
STAR-Dundee once again attended the IEEE Aerospace in Big Sky (Montana). There we presented the latest designs using SpaceFibre and SpaceWire technology, including the capabilities of theSpaceFibre Multi-Lane interface and the SpaceFibre 9-port router. Shown in the photograph are two radiation-tolerant Microsemi RTG4 FPGAs, each implementing a different flavour of our SpaceFibre IP (Single-Lane and Multi-Lane).
STAR-Dundee is delighted to once again sponsor the 2016 Flight Software Workshop being held on the Caltech Campus in Pasadena, California. As well as presenting the latest SpaceFibre developments, we are also demonstrating the latest SpaceFibre and SpaceWire technology at our exhibition stand.
To meet growing demand, we currently have a need to fill four positions in our Dundee office. If you are interested in joining a successful, innovative and award winning Scottish space company, then please get in contact.
Descriptions of each of the available roles and details on how to apply can be found at the following links:
STAR-Dundee enjoyed exhibiting at the 2016 International SpaceWire Conference held from 25th to 27th of October 2016 in Yokohama, Japan. On our exhibition stand we demonstrated our latest SpaceWire and SpaceFibre products, including a demonstration of SpaceFibre multi-laning. We also presented papers on various topics including SpaceFibre networks and multi-laning, SpaceFibre link analysis and test and development equipment, SpaceFibre flight equipment, SpaceWire-D and the new SpaceWire PXI devices. Prior to the conference, some of the STAR-Dundee team presented tutorials on SpaceFibre and SpaceWire-D.