A document concisely describes a ring bus architecture for a proposed solid-state recorder (SSR) that would serve as buffer of data to be transmitted from a spacecraft to Earth. This architecture would afford fault tolerance needed for reliable operation in an anticipated high-radiation environment in which traditional SSRs cannot operate reliably. Features of the architecture include one or more controller boards and multiple memory boards interconnected in a ringlike topology. The interconnections would be high-speed serial links complying with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standard 1393 (which pertains to a spaceborne fiber-optic data bus).

Accordingly, each controller and memory board would be equipped with an IEEE-1393-compliant ring-bus-interface unit. The ringlike topology and the multiplicity of memory boards (and, optionally, of controller boards) would afford the redundancy needed for fault tolerance. Each board would be a fault-containment region. The IEEE 1393 links could be routed so that the SSR would continue to function even in the event of multiple failures. This architecture would also support scalability over a wide range. In a fully redundant configuration, it could accommodate between 1 and 125 memory boards.

This work was done by W. John Walker, Edward Kopf, and Brian Cox of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.