MISSE-8 FSE (MISSE-8 FSE) - 07.14.16
Materials on International Space Station Experiment - 8 Flight Support Equipment - SpaceCube (MISSE-8 FSE) tests the radiation tolerance of a computer made to work in space. The SpaceCube investigation's computer is built from radiation-tolerant material and simulates work for a future long-term space mission. This demonstrates how new advanced flight control systems, which must be many times tougher than regular Earth hardware, can resist radiation damage in order to perform in the space environment.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending Experiment Details
OpNom: MISSE-8 FSE
Tom Flatley, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Technology Demonstration Office (TDO)
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2013 - March 2016; March 2016 - March 2017
SpaceCube is a cross-cutting, in-flight reconfigurable Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) based on-board hybrid science data processing system developed at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).
The goal of the SpaceCube program is to provide 10x to 100x improvements in on-board computing power while lowering relative power consumption and cost.
The SpaceCube design strategy incorporates commercial radiation-tolerant Xilinx Virtex FPGA technology and couples it with an integrated upset detection and correction architecture to provide reliable “order of magnitude” improvements in computing power over traditional fully radiation-hardened flight systems.
The Misse-8 SpaceCube experiment serves an on-orbit test platform for demonstrating the capabilities of this innovative radiation-tolerant technology. The experiment produces data that is extremely valuable to NASA’s space avionics research and development efforts and the greater space avionics community because it demonstrates these Xilinx Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) based hybrid systems can perform in the space environment while providing a significant leap in on-board processing power.
The Misse-8 SpaceCube experiment consists of two independent SpaceCube 1.0 science data processing systems. The SpaceCube experiment is demonstrating how these new advance avionics systems perform in the space environment. The SpaceCubes use “canned” data to continuously perform calculations for an autonomous navigation application, simulating in-situ instrument processing on a next generation NASA mission. The SpaceCube system also demonstrates real-world use of novel technology that mitigates radiation-induced errors.
The SpaceCube v1.0 processing system features two commercial Xilinx Virtex-4 FX60 Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), each with two embedded PowerPC405 processors. The FPGAs are mounted in a back-to-back method, which reduces the size of the circuit board design while maintaining the added benefit of two FPGAs. All SpaceCube v1.0 cards are 4” x 4”, yielding a small, yet powerful hybrid computing system. The architecture exploits the Xilinx FPGAs and PowerPCs and necessary support peripherals to maximize system flexibility. Adding to the flexibility, the entire system is modular. Each card conforms to a custom mechanical standard that allows stacking multiple cards in the same box.
Radiation from the sun and cosmic sources can cause errors in a spacecraft’s computer, by corrupting bits of data or interfering with data transmission. Space hardware and software must be designed to withstand the radiation environment of low-Earth orbit and interplanetary space. The SpaceCube investigation tests the data processing capabilities of a new radiation-tolerant computer that is much more resistant to radiation and harsh space conditions. Improvements in computing power and reliability are necessary for the next generation of NASA’s Earth, space, and planetary science missions.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is developing SpaceCube’s radiation-tolerant technology to produce more robust computing systems that can withstand the radiation environment of space allowing NASA to expand its Earth science research program as well as future space missions.
Operational Requirements and Protocols
Decadal Survey Recommendations
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