Recore Systems presents reliable data processor for space mission

28-08-2012

Noordwijk, The Netherlands – Today Recore Systems presents a prototype of a reliable data processor for space missions to captains of space industry, who are looking for more powerful and more reliable data processors for future use. Recore Systems has developed the functional prototype in assignment of ESA-ESTEC, the European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

Since the amount of raw data collected during space missions for Earth observation and science far exceeds the amount that can be transmitted to the ground, the data is processed on-board of the space vessel with digital signal processors (DSP) that can withstand the extremely high radiation levels in space. The currently available European radiation-hard DSP processor unfortunately lacks the performance needed for many future applications.

Recore developed a prototype of a reliable data processor that can withstand radiation-induced data errors both on the software and hardware level, by combining ideas for self-repairing chips (like those demonstrated in silicon in 2011 in the CRISP research project) with existing space-proven components.

‘We introduced our concepts of self-repairing reconfigurable chips to ESA in 2009, and explained that a multi-core system can detect which parts of hardware are faulty and then can continue to process data with the healthy cores’, says Gerard Rauwerda, CTO at Recore Systems. ‘ESA contracted us to embed it in a prototype with proven space concepts such as LEON General Purpose Processors and space standard interfaces such as SpaceWire. Today we demonstrate a functional multi-core DSP prototype for reliable data processing in space, which integrates our reconfigurable technologies for Systems and Networks on Chips.’

Recore started the development of an FPGA prototype dubbed MPPB (Massively Parallel Processor Breadboarding system, ESA contract 21986), to prove the concepts for a space-hardened, fault-tolerant multi-DSP system capable of digital signal processing with a high data throughput. The prototype integrates proven and validated concepts for error detection and correction with new reconfigurability concepts supporting fault tolerance. The functional prototype is well suited to data processing tasks commonly performed in space.

‘Many new missions and applications in the areas of Science and Exploration, Earth Observation and Telecom will require new, more powerful on-board processing platforms. We work with partners on a new generation of European space qualified processor chips, which are on our onboard payload data processing roadmap for the coming years’, says Roland Trautner, Technical Officer On-board Payload Data Processing at ESTEC. ‘Today, on the ESA DSP day, Recore, Astrium and other industrial partners present results that bring the next-generation data processor chips for space missions one step closer.

About Recore Systems 

Recore Systems is a fabless semiconductor company that develops advanced DSP platform ICs and licenses reconfigurable semiconductor IP. The company specializes in reconfigurable multi-core designs that can instantly adapt to new situations and combine flexibility, high performance, low power, and low cost. Scalability of the technology allows its use in lean consumer as well as in demanding professional applications. Typical application areas are broadcasting, wireless communications, multimedia and digital beamforming.

About ESA-ESTEC

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. ESA intends to find out more about Earth, its immediate space environment, our Solar System and the Universe, and develops satellite-based technologies and services to stay at the forefront of space exploration. ESA has sites in different countries, among which ESTEC, the European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Their ‘On board data processing’ section develops payload data processing systems.