A document describes the CoNNeCT Baseband Processor Module (BPM) based on an updated processor, memory technology, and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). The BPM was developed from a requirement to provide sufficient computing power and memory storage to conduct experiments for a Software Defined Radio (SDR) to be implemented.

The flight SDR uses the AT697 SPARC processor with on-chip data and instruction cache. The non-volatile memory has been increased from a 20-Mbit EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read only memory) to a 4-Gbit Flash, managed by the RTAX2000 Housekeeper, allowing more programs and FPGA bit-files to be stored. The volatile memory has been increased from a 20-Mbit SRAM (static random access memory) to a 1.25-Gbit SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory), providing additional memory space for more complex operating systems and programs to be executed on the SPARC. All memory is EDAC (error detection and correction) protected, while the SPARC processor implements fault protection via TMR (triple modular redundancy) architecture.

Further capability over prior BPM designs includes the addition of a second FPGA to implement features beyond the resources of a single FPGA. Both FPGAs are implemented with Xilinx Virtex-II and are interconnected by a 96-bit bus to facilitate data exchange. Dedicated 1.25-Gbit SDRAMs are wired to each Xilinx FPGA to accommodate high rate data buffering for SDR applications as well as independent SpaceWire interfaces. The RTAX2000 manages scrub and configuration of each Xilinx.

This work was done by Clifford K. Yamamoto, Thomas C. Jedrey, and Daniel G. Gutrich of Caltech, and Richard L. Goodpasture of Mantech SRS Technologies for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NPO-47773


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
CoNNeCT Baseband Processor Module

(reference NPO-47773) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the December, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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