FPGA to Satellite: Please Respond!

Space

Introduction

A reliable data connection between a satellite and the ground station is essential to the success of any satellite mission – to this end, one of our customers from space industry asked us to develop a data transmission testing system.

Customer Challenge

The testing system (special checkout equipment, SCOE) is used to verify the communication between individual satellite components as well as the communication between the satellite and the ground station. It needs to be able to transfer, record, store and check huge amounts of data, simulate the most extreme scenarios and provoke potential errors that can occur during the communication. The customer had difficulties finding such a specific solution off-the-shelf, so they opted for a contract development with Enclustra.

The Solution

In this project, our engineering team designed-in the Mercury KX1 module, mounted on a custom PCIe®-capable base board utilizing Enclustra's FPGA Manager™ PCI Express IP solution. The complete FPGA firmware that handles the employed protocols in real-time, as well as the host computer software, providing a GUI for setting up, running and analyzing the communication tests, were developed by our engineering team.

The Result

«Enclustra provided us with a turnkey development of a special checkout equipment (SCOE) for intra-satellite communication testing in the context of the SARah satellite mission. Their full-stack expertise, from PCB over FPGA firmware to application software development, made them a one-stop-shop for our needs. We will happily consider them again for our future projects.» Rafael Plonka, Team Lead, OHB System AG

Keywords

Xilinx® Kintex®-7 | WizardLink | VHDL | C# | C++ | FPGA System Design | FPGA Hardware | FPGA Firmware | Host Computer Software | Mercury KX1 | FPGA Manager PCIe® | SCOE | Satellite