STAR-Dundee and Alpha Data Demonstrate SpaceFibre and SpaceWire on Alpha Data’s ADA-SDEV-KIT XQRKU060

STAR-Dundee and Alpha Data have recently demonstrated compatibility between our FMC SpaceWire/SpaceFibre board and the Alpha Data ADA-SDEV-KIT. The Alpha Data ADA-SDEV-KIT is the principal prototyping platform for designs targeting the Xilinx Space Grade Ultrascale™ part, the XQRKU060. This new FPGA allows deployment of Space Based Reconfigurable solutions more than five times the performance of previous generations, and has significantly higher performance transceivers that can support the highest SpaceFibre data rate of 6.25 Gbit/s per lane. The STAR-Dundee FMC SpaceWire/SpaceFibre board provides the perfect development platform for customers wishing to test and develop SpaceWire and SpaceFibre solutions with our SpaceWire and SpaceFibre VHDL IP cores.

FMC SpaceWire/SpaceFibre Board

“STAR-Dundee’s SpaceWire and SpaceFibre IP and FMC card will enable Alpha Data ADA-SDEV-KIT customers to develop and implement robust, fault tolerant, space capable communications systems.”

Andrew McCormick, Technical Director, Alpha Data

Established in 1993, Alpha Data is a world leader in Xilinx FPGA based plug-in acceleration boards for Data Center, high-performance computing, and rugged embedded computing applications. Alpha Data’s high-reliability hardware platforms are ideal for development as well as full-scale production deployment – shaping the future in video processing, machine learning, and network acceleration. Further product details and ordering options for Alpha Data’s ADA-SDEV-KIT are available on Alpha Data’s website: www.alpha-data.com.

More information about the FMC SpaceWire/SpaceFibre board and the SpaceWire and SpaceFibre IP cores is available on the Products section of our website.

STAR Fire Mk3 Now Available!

STAR Fire Mk3

Closely following on from the publication of the SpaceFibre standard, our latest SpaceFibre and SpaceWire enabled test and development unit is now available!

The STAR Fire Mk3 can transmit and receive both SpaceWire and SpaceFibre traffic; it can interconnect SpaceWire equipment to a SpaceFibre network; and it can operate as a SpaceFibre link analyser, capable of unobtrusively capturing and displaying SpaceFibre traffic. Leveraging these capabilities, it is possible to emulate, stimulate, debug and validate SpaceFibre enabled equipment.

Previous versions of the STAR Fire were created whilst we developed the SpaceFibre standard, helping to prove the technology and providing early adopters with access to test equipment. Building on the previous STAR Fire models and our expertise in SpaceFibre, both the STAR Fire Mk3 hardware and software have been significantly improved, resulting in a comprehensive test and development platform.

More information is available on the STAR Fire Mk3 product page.

SpaceFibre Standard Published!

SpaceFibre Standard Published

For the past decade, STAR-Dundee has been leading the development of the next generation of SpaceWire technology: SpaceFibre. SpaceFibre is a high-performance, high-reliability, high-availability network technology for use onboard spacecraft.

Our efforts in developing SpaceFibre were recently rewarded with the publication of the SpaceFibre standard, “ECSS-E-ST-50-11C – SpaceFibre – Very high-speed serial link”, by the European Space Agency’s standardisation body, the European Cooperation for Space Standardization.

SpaceFibre provides data signalling rates of 6.25 Gbit/s in current flight technology, over electrical or fibre optic cables, while its unique multi-laning features allow up to 16 lanes to be combined into a single link, giving a theoretical link rate of 100 Gbit/s. SpaceFibre offers much more than high data rates, however. The technology is capable of detecting, isolating and recovering from faults in the link where they occur, which prevents faults from propagating and causing further errors. SpaceFibre provides galvanic isolation, transparent recovery from transient errors, error containment in virtual channels and frames, and “Babbling Node” protection. Very versatile quality of service mechanisms allow scheduled, deterministic communication without wasting any network bandwidth.

These powerful capabilities mean that SpaceFibre is not only suitable for very high data rate payloads such as synthetic aperture radar and multi-spectral imaging instruments; it can also be used for network and equipment management and for deterministic command and control type applications. SpaceFibre allows each of these traffic types with very different requirements to share a single network, with each traffic stream operating independently within its own virtual network.

SpaceFibre has been and is being designed into its first ASICs, on-board equipment and space missions. The powerful Ramon Chips RC64 many-core DSP features STAR-Dundee IP to provide 12 SpaceFibre ports each offering up to 6.25 Gbit/s data signalling rate. SpaceFibre is being used in Europe, USA, Russia and Japan and has been incorporated in the latest revision of the ANSI/VITA 78 SpaceVPX backplane standard.

Our CTO, Steve Parkes, wrote the SpaceFibre standard with inputs from international spacecraft engineers, and STAR-Dundee has designed, implemented and tested:

In addition, STAR-Dundee has demonstrated the first complete SpaceFibre network representative of spaceflight applications and incorporating radiation tolerant technology. STAR-Dundee owns a patent on the SpaceFibre multi-lane technology, which is being freely licensed for space related applications.

We currently offer several SpaceFibre IP cores and SpaceFibre Test and Development products, with more products to be added to this range in the near future.

2019 Conferences and Trade Shows Begin with IEEE Aerospace

IEEE Aerospace Conference

STAR-Dundee’s attendance at conferences and trade shows in 2019 began with the IEEE Aerospace Conference in Big Sky Montana, which started on March 2nd. Our CTO presented a paper titled “SpaceFibre Interfaces and Architectures” on the 3rd,  while at our booth we demonstrated our latest SpaceWire and SpaceFibre developments, including a new version of our SpaceFibre Router with 12 ports, and the SpaceFibre Camera, featuring a radiation-tolerant (RTG4) FPGA. Images were shown being transferred from the SpaceFibre Camera, over a SpaceFibre network, through the SpaceFibre Router, and received on a PC using the STAR Fire Mk3. The USB 3.0 interface on this unit allows the images to be received at data rates in excess of 1 Gbit/s. At the same time, a slower data feed was routed from SpaceWire to SpaceFibre and then back to SpaceWire. It is straightforward to add SpaceWire traffic into a SpaceFibre network using our SpaceFibre Router, as it offers both SpaceFibre and SpaceWire ports.

Other events where you can meet our team this year and see these great demos include:

Hi-FLY: Improving Space On-board Data Handling and Transfer Capabilities

Hi-FLY Logo

STAR-Dundee is a partner in Hi-FLY, a research project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme. The aim of Hi-FLY is to develop and validate innovative technologies to remarkably improve space on-board data handling and transfer capabilities, primarily for Earth Observation and partly also for Telecom future missions.  To achieve this goal, Hi-FLY will make substantial advances in all major elements of the data chain including inter-satellite and on-board networks, payload processing, data compression, protection, storage and transmission.

STAR-Dundee’s role includes providing a standard interface, SpaceFibre, to the instruments and elements of the payload data chain. This is scalable to sustain data-rates from 1 Gbit/s to 40 Gbit/s per link and supports very high-speed data transfer and equipment control, configuration and monitoring through the same interface, enhancing overall system reliability. The end to end data chain will support an input data-rate from instruments of 50 Gbit/s and an output data-rate to the downlink of 10 Gbit/s.

The Hi-FLY project partners are:

  • Airbus Defence and Space GMBH
  • Airbus Defence and Space SAS
  • Tesat-Spacecom GmbH & Co.KG
  • STAR-Dundee Limited
  • University of Dundee
  • Integrated Systems Development S.A.
  • Deutsches Zentrum Luft – und Raumfahrt e.V.
  • Kongsberg Spacetec AS
  • Erzia Technologies SL
  • Universitat Autonoma De Barcelona
  • Ethniko Kai Kapodistriako Panepistimio Athinon
  • Modus Research and Innovation Limited

Further information on the Hi-FLY project can be found on the Hi-FLY project website, while a video providing an overview of the project is available on the Hi-FLY YouTube channel.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 776151

STAR-Dundee Demonstrating New Products at Small Sat 2018

Small Sat 2018

From the 6th to the 9th of August, STAR-Dundee will be exhibiting at the 32nd Annual Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah, USA. If you’re attending the event, come and visit us at Booth 31 in the main hall (Taggart Student Center).

We’ll be demonstrating some of our forthcoming products, including the Link Analyser Mk3, STAR Fire Mk3 and SpaceWire Gigabit Ethernet (GbE Brick). Also on our stand will be our SpaceFibre Camera, which will be transferring video across SpaceFibre at Gbit/s rates to the STAR Fire Mk3, where it will be displayed on the connected PC using our STAR-System software suite.

STAR-Dundee at Space Computing & Connected Enterprise Resiliency Conference

STAR-Dundee attended the Space Computing & Connected Enterprise Resiliency Conference for the first time, in Bedford, Massachusetts from June 4th – June 8th 2018.

STAR-Dundee took part in Session 5 (1:00PM – 3:30PM, DoubleTree): ‘Interconnects for Space – including SpaceVPX, SpaceWire, SpaceFibre, sRIO, TTE, standards/markets, and emerging standards.’

Dave Gibson, a Software Engineer at STAR-Dundee, gave a presentation covering the main features and benefits of SpaceFibre. Find out more about SpaceFibre here: https://www.star-dundee.com/knowledge-base/what-is-spacefibre.

STAR-Dundee at SpaceWire Conference 2018

STAR-Dundee at SpaceWire Conference 2018

May is a busy month for all at STAR-Dundee. We will be at 3 events: SpaceWire Conference, SEE/MAPLD and DASIA.

From 14-18 May we will be at the SpaceWire Conference in Los Angeles.

On Monday the 14th Steve Parkes, our CTO and author of the SpaceFibre standard with inputs from several spacecraft engineers, will be presenting a SpaceFibre tutorial, explaining how the protocol operates and how it can be used to solve many communications problems on-board spacecraft. This tutorial is free for everyone registered for the SpaceWire Conference. More information can be found on the SpaceWire Conference website programme page.

STAR-Dundee’s CEO, Stuart Mills, will Chair the ‘Missions & Applications’ session from 11:30-12:35 on Tuesday the 15th and STAR-Barcelona Director and R&D Engineer Albert Ferrer Florit will chair the ‘Networks & Protocols’ session from 13:30-15:00 on Wednesday the 16th.

Employees from STAR-Dundee have contributed to a number of papers which will be presented at the conference. The titles, authors and times are below:

Tuesday the 15th:

  • (51) Stuart Mills, Chris McClements, David Paterson, Pete Scott, Steve Parkes; TESTING OVER ETHERNET WITH THE SPACEWIRE GBE BRICK (10:30-11:00)
  • (56) Albert Ferrer-Florit, Alberto Gonzalez Villafranca, Steve Parkes, Chris McClements;SPACEFIBRE INTERFACE AND ROUTING SWITCH IP CORES (15:25 – 16:15)

Thursday 17th:

  • (54) Steve Parkes, Ashish Srivastava, Chris McClements, Pete Scott, David Dillon, Albert Ferrer Florit, Alberto Gonzalez Villafranca; SPACEFIBRE CAMERA (9:00-10:15)
  • (55) Steve Parkes, Pete Scott, David Dillon, Martin Dunstan, Chris McClements, Albert Ferrer Florit, Alberto Gonzalez Villafranca; SPACEVPX-RTG4 BOARD WITH SPACEWIRE OR SPACEFIBRE BACKPLANE (9:00-10:15)
  • (52) Stephen Mudie, David Gibson, Chris McClements, Stuart Mills, Steve Parkes; TESTING SPACEFIBRE EQUIPMENT AND SYSTEMS (15:15-16:30)
  • (53) Stephen Mudie, David Gibson, Chris McClements, Stuart Mills, Steve Parkes; SPACEWIRE LINK ANALYSER MK3 AND SPACEWIRE RECORDER (15:15-16:30)

Visit the SpaceWire Conference website for the full programme.

STAR-Dundee will also be exhibiting at the conference. Visit our stand to be one of the first to see demos showcasing three new products: the Link Analyser Mk3, STAR Fire Mk3 and SpaceWire Gigabit Ethernet (GbE Brick) which will soon be relased for sale.

Registration for the SpaceWire conference is open until the 14th of May – register here: http://2018.spacewire-conference.org/registration/

Featured Image: Electronics Engineer Pete Scott ready to demo at the SpaceWire Conference 2018.

STAR-Barcelona

STAR-Barcelona

Did you know we have an office in Barcelona? 

In 2012, Albert and Alberto, two of our employees, wanted to return to Barcelona having worked in Dundee for some time (Albert holds a PhD from the University of Dundee). STAR-Dundee is a very employee-focused company and was happy for Albert and Alberto to return to Barcelona and continue their work for STAR-Dundee from a different country. We now have three employees in Barcelona, and we intend to increase this number soon! 

This year STAR-Dundee became an employee owned company and, alongside managerial changes, on the 1st of November 2017, Space Technology and Applied Research Barcelona (STAR-Barcelona) was born. STAR-Barcelona is now a subsidiary company of STAR-Dundee.

STAR-Barcelona are soon set to expand, keep an eye out for future opportunities within the team!

The featured image shows our founder and previous CEO (now CTO) Steve Parkes in the process of signing the STAR-Barcelona subsidiary agreement.

Microsemi RTG4 STAR-Dundee Demo Video

The filming of our Video

On the 18th of May 2017 STAR-Dundee took part in Microsemi Space Forum’s North American Online Event.  As a partner of the Space Forum, STAR-Dundee created a video demonstrating SpaceWire and SpaceFibre for the Microsemi RTG4.

Watch the video here:

Microsemi Space Forum partner videos including STAR-Dundee’s were aired between 9:30-10:00, 11:15-12:15, and 14:00-14:30 (PST) on the 18th of May.

For more information and the agenda from the event please see Microsemi’s website: https://www.microsemi.com/spaceforum/space-forum#agenda 

STAR-Dundee also exhibited at Microsemi Space Forum, Europe in 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.

The featured image shows Dylan Drummond from Son of The Sea filming STAR-Dundee Electronics Engineer Pete.

STAR-Dundee at Space Tech Expo Europe 2017

STAR-Dundee at Space Tech Expo Europe 2017

On the 24-26th of October 2017, STAR-Dundee are attending Space Tech Expo Europe in Bremen, Germany.

At stand G11 we will be demonstrating the new STAR Fire Mk3 product, which can act as a SpaceFibre interface, a SpaceWire to SpaceFibre bridge and a SpaceFibre link analyser. STAR Fire Mk3 devices are connected to SpaceWire Brick Mk3 units and we are demonstrating each of these modes of the STAR Fire.

We will also be tweeting from @STAR_Dundee, follow us there for updates.

For more information on Space Tech Expo visit: http://www.spacetechexpo.eu/ and make sure to visit us at our stand G11, view the floor plan here: http://www.spacetechexpo.eu/exhibit/floor-plan/

Employee Ownership Launched at STAR-Dundee

Employee Ownership Launched at STAR-Dundee

Images from left to right: STAR-Dundee employee-owners outside STAR House | Steve Parkes, former CEO, back in the lab as CTO with the new SpaceFibre equipment | Employee Ownership Association Proud to be a member badge |

Aerospace engineering company selects employee ownership to secure future and root business in Dundee

STAR-Dundee is now proudly employee owned and part of the Employee Ownership Association.

STAR-Dundee is an aerospace engineering company which designs electronic components and test equipment for spacecraft. Operating from a beautiful townhouse close to the University of Dundee from which the company spun out in 2002, STAR-Dundee provides the international space agencies and space industry with important equipment. Technology that originated in Dundee is now being used across the world on more than one hundred spacecraft which are monitoring the Earth, exploring nearby planets and asteroids, mapping our galaxy and sensing the further flung parts of our solar system. The ‘SpaceWire’ network technology interconnects sensors and electronic equipment onboard a spacecraft, providing an efficient and versatile means of integrating the equipment together. This is similar to the way in which USB connects peripheral devices to a laptop.

Originating primarily because several organisations wanted to use technology developed by the University of Dundee, STAR-Dundee has grown from an academic and a few enthusiastic research students, who initially worked in their spare time to design and develop the first products. The company now employs 25 people and has offices in both Dundee and Barcelona. STAR-Dundee focuses on what it is good at, the design of electronic equipment and related software, and sub-contracts appropriately skilled manufacturing partners in the UK.

After celebrating our fifteenth year in business this year, and to secure the long-term future for the company, STAR-Dundee was transformed from a company run and majority owned by the founding academic, Prof Steve Parkes, to an employee owned company. Facilitated by a succession planning project initiative by Scottish Enterprise, various options were considered for the company and it soon became clear that employee ownership was the way forward for a company like STAR-Dundee.

Prof Steve Parkes said: “Having formed STAR-Dundee and forged it over 15 years into a company with a worldwide reputation, I realised that I was not going to be around to see it through the next 15 years. It became clear that the future for the company was about the people in the company that had helped make it a success and the culture that we had developed to support that success. Selling the company to another organisation, which would inevitably change the culture and might even move it from its Dundee base, was not a very attractive idea. Employee ownership retains and strengthens the culture and will ensure that it always has a base in Dundee.”

Our management team has been restructured with former CEO Steve Parkes now focusing on technology development as Chief Technology Officer, and Stuart Mills, another company founder and previously Chief Operating Officer, becoming CEO. Carole Carrie, the Administration Manager, is now Company Secretary. These management changes are intended to provide a firm foundation for further growth of the company.

A new technology, SpaceFibre, is currently being launched by STAR-Dundee. Developed over the past ten years, SpaceFibre is designed for high-performance, high-availability applications. SpaceFibre is designed primarily for spacecraft applications, but is creating interest in the robotics, medical equipment and other industries where performance and availability are critical drivers.

Stuart Mills, STAR-Dundee’s new CEO, said: “STAR-Dundee has been a great success because of its people.  Our move to employee ownership allows these individuals to have a greater say in the running of the company and to further benefit from the company’s success.”

Sarah Deas, director at Co-operative Development Scotland, the arm of Scottish Enterprise that supports company growth through collaborative and employee ownership business models, added: “STAR-Dundee’s main priorities when considering its succession options were to secure and strengthen the business, both in terms of its culture and success, and also to ensure the business remains rooted in Dundee. All of these objectives have been achieved through employee ownership as well as making sure the staff all have a meaningful stake in their company and its future success.”

Diane Taylor, Director of Research and Innovation Services at the University of Dundee, said: “STAR-Dundee is a prime example of innovation in University research making a real impact beyond academia. We would like to congratulate the whole STAR-Dundee team, and wish them every success for the future.”

If you would like a copy of our full press release about our transition to employee ownership to include on your website or in your publication please email: Lucy.Robertson@STAR-Dundee.com