Electrical/Electronics

PC/104 Single Board Computers

Sundance Multiprocessor Technology Ltd. (Chesham, UK) announced that it has integrated Xilinx’s new SDSoC development environment on to its EMC2-Z7030 single board computer (SBC). Sundance’s EMC2 range is a family of industrial-grade and deployment-ready SBC’s that feature a Xilinx Zynq SoC with integrated dual-core ARM-A9 CPUs coupled to 1Gb of DDR3 memory, four-lanes of PCI-Express and re-programmable logic with Kintex-7 FPGA technology. The EMC2 range is designed to the latest, yet long-established, PC/104 form factor of 90mm by 96mm, called OneBank. The Xilinx SDSoC development environment has a full, system-optimizing C/C++ compiler. Click here to learn more.

Posted in: Products, Electronics & Computers
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CMOS-Compatible Ohmic Contact RF MEMS Switch

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

Radio frequency (RF) microelectromechanical system (MEMS) switches have advantages over their solid-state counterparts. However, ohmic contact MEMS devices face several significant limitations, preventing entry into the mass market. These limitations are cost, reliability, packaging, and integration.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Microelectromechanical devices, Radio equipment, Switches
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Miller-Jogging for Synthesizer Lock Algorithm Extension

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) has developed a wide range of CMOS (complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) phase lock loop (PLL) chips with self-healing/self-calibration capabilities, allowing them to adapt, on the fly, to changes in temperature and other environment parameters. All CMOS PLLs typically have three major settings that self-healing and calibration can adjust: VCO (voltage controlled oscillator) coarse tuning, divider tuning, and CML (current mode logic) tuning. Previous work done at UCLA uses these “knobs” or settings exclusively to self-lock a PLL. Locking criteria is established by monitoring the control voltage with an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) to see if the PLL loop is settled in the middle of the range (locked), or sitting at the ground or supply (unlocked).

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Mathematical models, Semiconductors
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Deployable Antenna Circuit Board Material Design and Fabrication Process

This technology has applications in solar arrays for small satellites.

The Integrated Solar Array and Reflectarray (ISARA) antenna requires a rugged circuit board material that will meet the following requirements: (1) remains sufficiently flat over the required operating temperature range with solar cells mounted, and under full solar illumination, including heat dissipation due to ≈30% efficiency solar cells; (2) provides a sufficiently high-quality RF-grade circuit board material needed to print the reflectarray antenna; (3) is sufficiently thin (<2.5 mm) to fit within the available stowage volume; and (4) has low mass density (≈5 kg/m2).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Antennas, Integrated circuits, Fabrication
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Rigorous Antenna Noise Temperature Calculation Method for International Space Station Visiting Spacecraft

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

The temperature of the orbiting space station’s Sun-facing side could be up to 250 °F (≈120 °C) and will be a significant antenna noise temperature contributor for visiting spacecraft communication and tracking systems during rendezvous. The conventional antenna noise temperature calculation does not take into account the space station reflection effects, and results in an underestimated antenna and system noise temperature. Thus, the visiting spacecraft communication and tracking system performance could be overestimated during rendezvous.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Electronics & Computers, Software, Antennas, Telecommunications, Thermodynamics, Noise, Spacecraft
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Recurring Anomaly Detection System (ReADS)

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

NASA Engineering & Safety Center (NESC) subject matter experts analyze records in various International Space Station and shuttle databases to identify recurring anomalies. The key problems these experts face in analyzing such database records are:

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Electronics & Computers, Software, Analysis methodologies, Data acquisition and handling, Spacecraft
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Method for Automatic Optimization of Yaw Maneuvers for Orbiting Space Vehicles

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

A new method for optimizing yaw attitude maneuvers on the International Space Station (ISS) was developed. Docking and undocking operations often require 180° yaw rotations, which are the most common large maneuvers on the ISS. When optimized, some large maneuvers, previously performed using thrusters, could be performed using control moment gyroscopes (CMGs) or with significantly reduced thruster firings. The ability to perform a non-propulsive or low-propulsive 180° yaw maneuver on the ISS has been proven through the zero propellant maneuver (ZPM) and the optimal propellant maneuver (OPM). The ZPM and OPM were created by Draper Laboratory using the computational approach. Each maneuver is unique, and can only be calculated on the ground because significant computer resources are needed for the calculations.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Electronics & Computers, Software, Optimization, Simulation and modeling, Attitude control, Spacecraft guidance, Spacecraft
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Architecture Framework for Fault Management Assessment and Design

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama

Modern spacecraft, aircraft, and surface vehicles support complex science missions in harsh environments. These spacecraft and vehicles provide diverse functionality that is deployed on increasingly complex and heterogeneous hardware and mechanical systems, with stringent dependability requirements.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Electronics & Computers, Software, Failure analysis, Architecture, Reliability, Spacecraft
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Spacecraft Parameter Database Tool

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

The GOES-R Program has requirements to maintain knowledge of the GOES-R satellite onboard memory contents, including managing general satellite operations tables; processor memory dumps for memory verification; creating command loads, memory (table) loads, and command sequences to operate the satellite; verifying stored command and memory (table) loads; and to provide for operator-initiated memory dumps from satellite processors. The principal limitation is the tie to specific spacecraft architecture.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Electronics & Computers, Software, Computer software and hardware, Data management, Spacecraft
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Eliminating the Need for Payload-Specific Coupled Loads Analyses Without Mission Risk

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama

Amore efficient structural verification process for small satellites has been demonstrated. This new process eliminates the need for payload-specific coupled loads analysis (CLA) and simplifies structural testing while not increasing mission risk. The process entails the following:

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Electronics & Computers, Software, Failure modes and effects analysis, Safety testing and procedures, Satellites
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