A paper discusses NEXUS, a common, next-generation avionics interconnect that is transparently compatible with wired, fiber-optic, and RF physical layers; provides a flexible, scalable, packet switched topology; is fault-tolerant with submicrosecond detection/recovery latency; has scalable bandwidth from 1 Kbps to 10 Gbps; has guaranteed real-time determinism with sub-microsecond latency/jitter; has built-in testability; features low power consumption (< 100 mW per Gbps); is lightweight with about a 5,000-logic-gate footprint; and is implemented in a small Bus Interface Unit (BIU) with reconfigurable back-end providing interface to legacy subsystems.

NEXUS enhances a commercial interconnect standard, Serial RapidIO, to meet avionics interconnect requirements without breaking the standard. This unified interconnect technology can be used to meet performance, power, size, and reliability requirements of all ranges of equipment, sensors, and actuators at chip-to-chip, board-to-board, or box-to-box boundary.

Early results from in-house modeling activity of Serial RapidIO using VisualSim indicate that the use of a switched, high-performance avionics network will provide a quantum leap in spacecraft onboard science and autonomy capability for science and exploration missions.

This work was done by Yutao He, Eddy Shalom, Savio N. Chau, Raphael R. Some, and Gary S. Bolotin of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NPO-47653

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
NEXUS Scalable and Distributed Next- Generation Avionics Bus for Space Missions

(reference NPO-47653) 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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