MISSE-8 FSE (MISSE-8 FSE) - 12.13.17

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
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

The following content was provided by Tom Flatley, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Tom Flatley, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States

Information Pending

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
Technology Demonstration Office (TDO)

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2013 - March 2016; March 2016 - April 2017

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

^ back to top

Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • 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.


^ back to top


Space Applications
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.

Earth Applications
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.

^ back to top


Operational Requirements and Protocols

MISSE-8 FSE requires power and data provided by the Station, but does not require crew interaction, other than retrieval and installation on SpX4 for return.

MISSE-8 FSE requires power and data provided by the Station, but does not require crew interaction, other than retrieval and installation on SpX4 for return.

^ back to top

Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

^ back to top

Results/More Information

Information Pending

^ back to top

Related Websites

^ back to top