VXS-based satellite communications development system
TEK Microsystems
Chelmsford, MA

TEK Microsystems’ first VXS-based satellite communications development system has been ordered by NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH. The system will be used for Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) compatibility test sets as part of NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program. Responsible for providing communications and navigation services to flight missions, the SCaN Program also supplies terrestrial communication needs.

ImageThe TDRSS communication relay system provides links between low-earth orbiting (LEO) spacecraft and the ground. The system provides extended view times for LEO satellite communications links, and is capable of transmitting to and receiving data from any LEO spacecraft over at least 85% of its orbit. The TDRSS space segment currently consists of six first-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) located in geosynchronous orbit, of which three are available for operational support at any given time. The remaining vehicles provide backup in the event of the failure of an operational spacecraft and, in some specialized cases, resources for target of opportunity activities.

The TEKmicro systems will include Callisto, Janus, and Neptune 2 VXS boards. By providing a FPGA processing resource at the core of the VXS communications fabric, Callisto achieves an optimal balance between processing power and I/O bandwidth, thereby maximizing the value that can be extracted from the use of FPGAs for signal processing. Janus combines FPGAbased DSP processing technology with seven channels of 16-bit, 500 MSPS (mega samples per second) digital to analog conversion. Neptune 2 has FPGA technology and a dual-channel, 2.2 GSPS (gigasamples per second) architecture.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2007 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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