Microsemi and STAR-Dundee Collaborate to Provide Flexible High-Speed Data Networking for Space Applications

ALISO VIEJO, CA -- Microsemi Corporation and STAR-Dundee Ltd. announce their collaboration to provide SpaceWire and SpaceFibre network technology using Microsemi's RTG4 high-speed signal processing radiation-tolerant field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

STAR-Dundee specializes in supporting users and developers of SpaceWire and SpaceFibre, which are data-handling networks for onboard satellites and spacecraft. SpaceWire is being used on hundreds of spacecraft by agencies, research organizations and the space industry worldwide, including European Space Agency (ESA), NASA and Japan Aerospace eXploration Agency (JAXA). SpaceFibre is an emerging standard that provides a high-speed serial data-link for high data-rate payloads, complimenting the speed, simplicity, flexibility and interoperability capabilities of the widely used SpaceWire.

Microsemi's RTG4 FPGAs are the only devices of their kind to feature unique embedded SpaceWire clock recovery circuits. These circuits allow designers to achieve SpaceWire clock and data recovery at data rates up to 400 Mbits per second. RTG4 also offers high-speed Serializer/Deserializer (SerDes) transceiver capabilities to enable SpaceFibre to operate at data transfer rates beyond 2.5 Gbits per second. STAR-Dundee has demonstrated its SpaceWire and SpaceFibre intellectual property (IP) cores using Microsemi's RTG4 Development Kit, with SpaceWire IP running at over 200 Mbits per second, and its next-generation SpaceFibre IP running at 2.5 Gbits per second.

With STAR-Dundee's technology and expertise creating an easier process for space designers using RTG4, target applications for Microsemi's FPGAs include satellites, space launch vehicles, planetary orbiters and landers, and deep space probes. SpaceWire IP is widely used for spacecraft data-handling whereas SpaceFibre is a new technology that provides higher data rates, integrated quality of service and fault detection, isolation and recovery. These advanced capabilities make SpaceFibre suitable for a wide range of spacecraft onboard applications including integrated payload data-handling, attitude and orbit control networks, and launcher applications, where deterministic data delivery is required.

SpaceWire connects together instruments, mass-memory, processors, downlink telemetry and other onboard subsystems. Space missions relying on SpaceWire technology include Earth observation, scientific, exploration and commercial spacecraft. SpaceFibre, developed by STAR-Dundee in collaboration with the University of Dundee and ESA, is able to fulfill a wide range of spacecraft onboard communications applications because of its inbuilt quality of service (QoS) and fault detection, isolation and recovery (FDIR) capabilities. SpaceFibre is backwards compatible with existing SpaceWire equipment at the packet level.

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