SpaceWire System Validation using the SpaceWire Recorder Mk2

SpaceWire Recorder Mk2 Hardware and Software

In order to validate and debug complete SpaceWire systems it is very useful to be able to record and view the traffic on multiple links. Thorough validation can also require very large quantities of SpaceWire traffic to be stored and analysed.

The SpaceWire Recorder Mk2 can record and display the SpaceWire traffic on up to four SpaceWire links. It records SpaceWire packets, time-codes and link errors to solid-state disk, along with time information, and then displays these in network and packet level views ready to be inspected. The quantity of data that can be recorded and viewed is limited only by the size of the solid-state disks used (960 GB).

Recording statistics provide a summary of recording contents and help highlight any concerns. Built-in search helps to validate and navigate recorded traffic. To help automate SpaceWire traffic validation, all or part of a recording can be exported to CSV formatted files and then easily interpreted by custom software.

More information about the SpaceWire Recorder Mk2 is available on the product page.

SpaceWire EGSE and Device Simulator Mk2 Now Available!

SpaceWire EGSE Mk2 Hardware and Software

A new version of our SpaceWire EGSE and Device Simulator has been released! Like its predecessor, the SpaceWire EGSE Mk2 can be used to very quickly create SpaceWire instrument and equipment emulations. This is done using a scripting language designed specifically for SpaceWire applications.

The SpaceWire equipment behaviour required can be quickly and accurately defined in a script. The script is then compiled on a host PC and the resulting configuration file loaded into the SpaceWire EGSE Mk2 unit. The EGSE Mk2 then immediately begins to operate as defined in the script, functioning independent of software, resulting in real-time performance and precise emulation.

The SpaceWire EGSE Mk2 supersedes the original SpaceWire EGSE. It now supports SpaceWire link speeds up to 400 Mbit/s (previously 200 Mbit/s); the on-board memory in which packet data is stored has been increased in size to 512 MB (previously 128 MB); and a USB 3.0 interface (previously USB 2.0) is now used to connect the unit to a host PC. Compared to the original SpaceWire EGSE, these improvements mean traffic can be transmitted and received at higher link speeds; a larger quantity of pre-defined packet data can be stored in memory; and compiled scripts can be loaded into hardware faster.

More information is available on the SpaceWire EGSE Mk2 product page.

SpaceWire Link Analyser Mk3 Now Available!

Link Analyser Mk3 Hardware and Software

Essential for validating and debugging a SpaceWire link, our latest model of the SpaceWire Link Analyser is now available!

The Link Analyser Mk3 can capture and display bi-directional traffic travelling over a link; it can display live link statistics; and it can output decoded SpaceWire link characters and events to an external logic analyser. The traffic visibility this provides greatly helps to validate a link is operating correctly and aids debugging when problems are detected. Without such traffic visibility, there is an increased risk that issues go undetected and problems may take significantly longer to resolve.

Building on the capabilities of previous models, both the Link Analyser hardware and software are significantly improved. Hardware improvements mean much larger quantities of traffic can be captured, on SpaceWire links operating at faster speeds, and can be uploaded to a host PC more quickly. The software has been completely rewritten, retaining familiar views and useful functionality from the Mk2, whilst removing limitations of the previous software and adding new features.

More information is available on the SpaceWire Link Analyser Mk3 product page.

Conformance Tester Mk2 Now Available!

SpaceWire Conformance Tester Mk2 Front

We are pleased to announce the availability of our all new SpaceWire Conformance Tester Mk2.

Building on the success of the original SpaceWire Conformance Tester, the Mk2 has a brand-new hardware design that connects to the computer over a USB 3.0 (or USB 2.0) connection. It is now rack mountable using our rack mounting kit. The Conformance Tester Mk2 supports testing of SpaceWire link speeds of up to 400 Mbit/s and comes with the newest version of the GUI software.

Example bit-level test results

More information is available on the SpaceWire Conformance Tester Mk2 product page.

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.

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:

BepiColombo Mission to Mercury Launched

BepiColombo Mission to Mercury Launched

On 20th October 2018, at 01:45 UT, the BepiColombo mission to Mercury launched from Kourou, French Guiana.  BepiColombo consists of two main spacecraft, both of which make extensive use of SpaceWire for onboard data handling, plus a propulsion module using an ion thruster for the seven year voyage to Mercury orbit.

This joint mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will be the third mission to explore Mercury, following on from NASA’s Mariner 10 (1973) and Messenger (2004).  The European module, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), and the Japanese module, the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), will spend at least one year studying Mercury, one of the most mysterious and little understood planets in our Solar System.

It’s hoped that the observations of the planet’s surface and internal structure, and of its unusually strong magnetic field, will help improve theories of the origin and evolution of our Solar System, and also of the likely nature of planetary systems around other stars.

All of us at STAR-Dundee would like to congratulate the BepiColombo team on the successful development and launch of the mission, and we are grateful for the small part we were able to play in this.

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.