Space applications typically put considerable stresses on space data handling due to the harsh environmental conditions and in particular because of the effects of radiation. Mitigating against these effects can be expensive but increasing commercial pressures are putting focus on keeping costs to a minimum for space missions. At the same time, there are various installation challenges that demand flexible systems.
Preventing an effect such as 'single-event upset' from happening can be achieved with, in descending order of expense, radiation hardened electronics, radiation tolerant electronics and possibly even electronics not specifically designed to withstand radiation. Using COTS systems is also a great way to lower costs as bespoke systems are generally very expensive and inflexible. Choosing systems that can lower cable weight and make system placement more flexible will ease installation challenges.
Curtiss-Wright has a well proven range of data acquisition products that use Actel FPGA finite state machine architecture to create Space COTS, radiation tolerant COTS systems and rad hard options. By combining COTS savings with innovative radiation tolerant strategies, systems can be built that meet the needs of the mission at a significantly lower cost. The use of sophisticated Ethernet topologies, remote nodes and wireless sensor technology ease installation challenges and help save weight.
This approach is proven on multiple Space applications including SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon, ESA IXV and ULA Delta V. The radiation tolerant strategy helps cut program costs to enable more missions to be accomplished using the same budget. Distributed, lightweight systems facilitate lower cable weight, move data acquisition closer to sensors and yield faster installation times.