News

Congratulations to GC Micro for landing a prestigious NASA Contract Award!

GC Micro logo

GC Micro Corporation, STAR-Dundee’s representative in the USA, has been rewarded for its commitment to performance excellence and outstanding customer focus by winning a NASA Contract Award to supply information technology products and complex computerised solutions to the US federal government over the next 10 years. This did not come as a complete surprise as they recently received the Boeing Performance Excellence Award for the 6th consecutive year.

GC Micro is an IT business that has provided products and services to NASA and all the major companies in the Space and Aerospace industry since 1986. It is through these connections that GC Micro has proven to be a very strong partner in championing STAR-Dundee products in the US for over 8 years.

Congratulations to the GC Micro team!

Another big turnout from STAR-Dundee at the SpaceWire Conference in Athens, Greece

SpaceWire Conference in Athens, Greece

With the Acropolis in the distance, and amidst the glorious sun and sand of the Greek Riviera, another successful SpaceWire Conference took place.

The conference provided the opportunity to showcase the SpaceWire Physical Layer Tester at the STAR-Dundee exhibition stand. This is the first device on the market to test the Physical and Signal Levels of the SpaceWire standard. It can test the tolerance of a SpaceWire device to degraded LVDS by allowing the amount of skew, jitter, slew, swing and common mode voltage of the LVDS signals to be adjusted, either independently or collectively through a set of simple yet powerful GUIs.

Also presented were the latest LabVIEW and RTEMS driver developments.

The new SpaceWire LabVIEW (VISA) Driver has been introduced to meet the growing demand from our customers that wish to use our popular SpaceWire cPCI Mk2 in their NI racks. Whilst not yet making it onto the Product catalogue the driver is already proving a popular addition to the driver set.

The SpaceWire RTEMS Driver presentation drew much discussion about the tribulations of supporting the LEON3 for this RTOS used in many space applications. The RTEMS development for the LEON3 is the forerunner for the release later this year in support of the AT6981, a new processor borne from the partnership between STAR-Dundee and ATMEL. The AT6981 is the first of a new generation of powerful Space flight processors that offload IO tasks to dedicated protocol engines including 4 on-board state-of-the-art STAR-Dundee SpaceWire engines. The first AT6981 development board was on display at the ATMEL exhibition stand.

Of particular significance were two sessions dedicated to SpaceFibre. Short and long papers were presented on a variety of subjects; the latest updates to the protocol including multi-laning, new cable designs, the results of comparative studies of the multi-gigabit technology, and experiences of early adopters on the use of the integrated QoS mechanisms and extensive FDIR.

The conference proceedings are now available to conference attendees on the SpaceWire Conference website and will be generally available from April next year.

STAR-Dundee Scoop Scottish Business of the Year!

Business of the Year!!!

To crown another successful year, STAR-Dundee received the Scottish Business of the Year (Under 25 employees).

On Thursday 11th September the Scottish Chambers of Commerce held its inaugural Scottish Business Honours 2014 ceremony in Edinburgh. The occasion takes the winning businesses from local Chambers of Commerce from all over Scotland and showcases the best of Scottish businesses at this nationwide ceremony.

STAR-Dundee not only received one award but were also a shortlisted Finalist for Most Innovative Company. These acclamations are not only great recognition for the success of STAR-Dundee within the Scottish business community over the years, but also for all the endeavours of the great team at STAR House.

Image courtesy of Scottish Chambers of Commerce / John Linton Photography.

STAR-Dundee is Recruiting!

Talented Software Engineers required!

We have an exciting opportunity for experienced Software Developers to help shape our expanding product portfolio.

Following a very successful year that was crowned by winning the Courier Business of the Year 2013 award, and to support the continued growth of a busy company, STAR-Dundee is currently looking to expand our software team. Successful candidates will join a dynamic software design team working on software for spacecraft embedded systems, specialised test tools, and drivers, APIs and graphical applications to configure and control spacecraft test and development equipment.

If you’re interested in applying for a software engineer role, the job description can be found at the following link: http://www.reed.co.uk/jobs/spacecraft-software-engineer/24193773

Marketing Assistant required!

We are also seeking a Marketing Assistant to help market our range of products for the international space industry, joining the business development team to fulfil a varied and creative role.

More information, including application details, can be downloaded here: Marketing Assistant.

STAR-Dundee new technology presented at FSW 2013 at CalTech

NASA's Jet Propulsion Labs' Mars Yard complete with Curiosity rover

The Californian sun gave a welcome break from the snow left behind in Scotland during attendance of FSW-13 at CalTech and a visit to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs.

The 2013 Workshop on Spacecraft Flight Software (FSW-13) was a very interesting insight into the hardware and software activity within the USA space community. The workshop provides an opportunity to present and discuss current spaceflight architectures, novel approaches to mission solutions, and techniques for flight software development, integration, test and verification.

Managing Director Steve Parkes presented 3 papers:

  • SpaceFibre: Multi-Gbits/s Network for Spaceflight Applications
  • AT6981 – A High Performance Processor for Space Applications
  • SpaceWire EGSE: Real-time instrument simulation in a day

The built-in features of both SpaceFibre and the AT6981 processor are hitting the right spots for the NASA next generation of spacecraft architecture.

SpaceFibre builds on the flight proven capability of SpaceWire by providing multi-gigabit network capability taking data rates to 2.5Gbits/s single channel and >20Gbits/s multi-channel whilst also greatly enhancing the fault tolerance and adding quality of service mechanisms. This aligns SpaceWire technologies as a serious proposition for future spacecraft data communications and mission critical applications.

The AT6981, a new SpaceWire enabled flight processor with SPARCv8 core, is currently being designed in partnership with Atmel. It provides mechanisms specifically designed to save on both CPU usage and power consumption. Three on-board SpaceWire interfaces use DMA engines to offload the data handling from the CPU returning valuable processing power to be applied to more mission critical and computationally demanding tasks. The ability of each of the functional blocks of the AT6981 to be selectively powered off within the core supports the move to reduce power consumption required by on-board equipment further meeting requirements designed to prolong the usable life of the spacecraft.

The SpaceWire EGSE has been proving to be a very useful time-saving device with the ability to create real-time hardware simulation of missing instrumentation in a matter of 1 or 2 days during system integration, and as a SpaceWire traffic generator as part of a development test suite or mission EGSE system.

There was a very interesting keynote speech by the creators of an autonomous ocean-going vehicle. They shared their experiences and specific problems encountered, including the use of satellite bandwidth .. at least we won’t need to reroute cabling on satellites and rovers to avoid damage from great white sharks!

Information about the Workshops for Spaceflight Software can be found here.

All FSW-13 presentations were recorded and are available at the FSW-2013 Video Portal.

STAR-System V2.2 released!

STAR-System V2.2

STAR-Dundee has now released V2.2 of their STAR-System software stack.

New Features for STAR-System V2.2

Languages and Environments:

  • Cygwin support in Windows release
  • LabVIEW now released! (available separately)

Operating Systems:

  • Linux kernels up to 3.11

 

Supported devices:

  • SpaceWire-USB Brick Mk2
  • SpaceWire Router Mk2S
  • SpaceWire PCI Mk2, cPCI Mk2
  • SpaceWire PCIe
  • SpaceWire Physical Layer Tester (available soon)

 

GUIs and Applications improvements:

  • Device Config App: Errors on ports are now highlighted by changing the colour of the tab’s text to red
  • Device Config App: Clicking the Refresh button does not change the tab on display. Changing the device being displayed also does not change the tab

 

A more comprehensive list and description of STAR-System is available here.

The latest STAR-System release can be downloaded from the Support website for customers that have registered devices. If you don’t have access, register your device, follow the link to our Technical Support home page and follow the instructions to obtain a username and password.

STAR-Dundee receive local accolade: Business of the Year 2013

Business of the Year - STAR-Dundee
John Stevenson. Courier. 01/11/13. Fife, St Andrews, The Fairmont Hotel, The Courier Business Awards Ceremony. Business of the Year. STAR- Dundee Ltd. Pic shows l/r winner Steve Parkes.

Fireworks were flying over STAR House a few days before Bonfire Night when STAR-Dundee was announced winner of the most prestigious award at the inaugural Courier Business Awards 2013: Business of the Year 2013.

The awards have been created to celebrate the thriving business community of East-Central Scotland, home of The Courier.  Companies of all sizes, and from all walks of the business community were represented from life-sciences and tourism, to agriculture and retail. STAR-Dundee was recognised for its success and continued growth over the past 10 years.

Image courtesy of © The Courier Business Awards / John Stevenson.

STAR-System V2.0 released!

STAR-System V2.0 New Application GUIs

STAR-Dundee has now released V2.0 of their STAR-System software stack.

STAR-System is the system architecture that has been designed as a minimal layer with a single programming interface, STAR-API, that is consistent across all supported operating systems. STAR-System V2.0 expands the STAR-System portfolio with more supported STAR-Dundee devices, new operating systems support, and a more extensive range of supporting APIs and GUIs.

New Features for STAR-System V2.0

Languages and Environments:

  • C++
  • LabVIEW (available soon, separately)

 

Operating Systems:

  • VxWorks (available separately)
  • RTEMS coming soon (available separately)

 

Supported devices:

  • SpaceWire-USB Brick Mk2
  • SpaceWire Router Mk2S
  • SpaceWire Physical Layer Tester (available soon)

 

APIs and Modules:

  • Configuration APIs for all supported devices
  • SpaceWire USB device driver

 

GUIs and Applications:

  • Error Injection: allows various forms of errors to be injected on a link, including parity errors and inserting or supressing FCTs.
  • Device Update: provides an easy way to upgrade the firmware of a device to the latest version when posted on the support website.

 

A more comprehensive list and description of STAR-System is available here.

The latest STAR-System release can be downloaded from the Support website for customers that have registered devices. If you don’t have access, register your device, follow the link to our Technical Support home page and follow the instructions to obtain a username and password.

STAR-Dundee present SpaceFibre at SpaceTech Expo, Long Beach LA.

SpaceTech Expo, Long Beach LA

Leaving a late-May snow fall behind in Scotland STAR-Dundee headed to the sun of Long Beach, California, to exhibit and present at the 2nd SpaceTech Expo.

Despite the depleted attendance due to the continuation of budget sequestration within the USA, the quality of visitors to the booth was still high.

The Open Forum gave us the opportunity to present “SpaceWire Technologies deliver multi-gigabit data rates for on-board Spacecraft” a brief introduction to SpaceFibre and a progress update on the developments and projects already adopting the gigabit network capability of SpaceFibre. This was particularly timely as, not only had the SpaceFibre IP core just been released to the fourth company to enter the SpaceFibre Beta program, but following on from the copper cable testing SpaceFibre had just been successfully tested running at 2.5Gbits over a 100m fibre optic connection.

Check our website for more details on SpaceFibre and the first available products: the SpaceFibre IP core and the diagnostic interface unit STAR Fire; the first product aimed at early SpaceFibre adoption.

STAR-Dundee attend DASIA in Porto

DASIA in Porto

Amid the backdrop of Port lodges and the historic buildings of Porto, the technologies presented at DASIA 2013 provided a lot of interest for STAR-Dundee attendees.

From the SpaceWire portfolio the most recent additions were presented: the SpaceWire EGSE and the AT7913E based SpaceWire RTC Development Kit. The SpaceWire EGSE, a programmable device simulator, is already proving popular due to it’s intuitive script language allowing complex instrument simulation to be achieved in a day, combined with it’s hardware based functionality giving it true real-time behaviour. Similarly the SpaceWire RTC Development Kit, that includes a fully integrated software development environment, is gaining a foothold as the one-stop-shop hardware and software development platform for the radiation tolerant Atmel AT7913E. The AT7913E RTC is a single-chip embedded system containing a radiation tolerant SPARC V8 core with FPU and embedded interfaces that acts as the bridge from sensor networks to SpaceWire networks, with the capability to effectively perform data handling at platform level and powerful data processing at payload level.

Under the University of Dundee banner, Managing Director Steve Parkes gave the first technical presentation outside the SpaceWire User Group forum about SpaceFibre. SpaceFibre is a multi-gigabit network protocol that builds on the SpaceWire protocol taking data rates to 2.5Gbits, and by greatly enhancing the fault tolerance and adding quality of service mechanisms allowing SpaceWire technologies to be a serious proposition for mission critical applications and an excellent option for other sectors such as Aerospace industry.

Check our website for more details on all the devices mentioned: SpaceWire EGSE,  SpaceWire RTC Development Kit and SpaceFibre.

Technical details and availability of the radiation tolerant AT7913E and other radiation tolerant devices can be obtained from Atmel.

STAR-Dundee Introduce SpaceFibre at 29th National Space Symposium

29th National Space Symposium

Another successful trip for STAR-Dundee exhibiting at the 29th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.

Despite the attendance being low from the absence of NASA and other US Government bodies, a direct result of US budget sequestration, and the appearance of some late winter storms that saw outside temperatures drop to -13 degrees Celsius, the quality of the visitors to our stand was again high including a discussion with Lt. Governor of Colorado Joseph Garcia attending as co-chair of the Colorado Space Coalition.

Exhibiting at the NSS provided the first forum for us to introduce SpaceFibre to existing SpaceWire users and newcomers to SpaceWire technologies. SpaceFibre produced great interest with its ability to provide Gigabit bandwidths for data transfer on-board spacecraft, especially when backed with QoS mechanisms and much improved fault tolerance techniques.

Engineers enjoy a Eureka moment in the SpaceFibre Development!

STAR-Dundee hosted a collaboration of engineers to validate a significant milestone in the SpaceFibre development.

STAR-Dundee hosted a collaboration of engineers to validate a significant milestone in the SpaceFibre development.

A delegation of Engineers from NTSpace, NEC, MELCO and Osaka University travelled to STAR-House to join STAR-Dundee engineers to test and validate the interoperability of independent implementations of SpaceFibre CODEC IP cores. This milestone is a key turning point in the project and a significant step towards bringing gigabit data rates to satellites and spacecraft to meet the increasing demands of ever-more sophisticated technological advances of on-board instrumentation. The 10 fold increase in speed over the current SpaceWire standard still maintains the SpaceWire ethos of high reliability, low power and usability.

SpaceFibre is a very high-speed serial data-link being developed by the University of Dundee for ESA which is intended for use in data-handling networks for high data-rate payloads. SpaceFibre is able to operate over fibre-optic and copper cable and support data rates of 2 Gbit/s in the near future and up to 5 Gbit/s long-term. It aims to complement the capabilities of the widely used SpaceWire onboard networking standard: improving the data rate by a factor of 10, reducing the cable mass by a factor of four and providing galvanic isolation. Multi-laning improves the data-rate further to well over 20 Gbits/s.

SpaceFibre interface, SpaceWire to SpaceFibre Bridge, and SpaceFibre link analysis tools are available from STAR-Dundee Ltd.