Time triggered Ethernet for space gateway

Time triggered Ethernet for space gateway

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The PPE will provide power, maneuvering, attitude control and communications for the lunar orbiting outpost in space. The Gateway is a key part of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 and eventually enable future crewed missions to Mars. 

TTTech Aerospace and RUAG Space will deliver the first equipment to Maxar in mid-2021.

“Space is also going Ethernet with NASA standardised on Deep Space interoperability standards ,” said Kurt Doppelbauer,  VP Strategic Sales and Business Development. “We’ve been working with NASA since 2000 to make this an open standard and we collaborate on the standard and compete on the products.”

“It takes a lot of expertise to implement the standard,” he said. “Our technology is based on ARINC-664 aerospace standard and then we added time triggered to it and so I say good luck to anyone who wants to make a product out of it and certify it.”

“We worked with STMicroelectronics ASIC that’s ITAR free for a rad-hard system on chip that we then package in plastic or ceramic for RUAG Space to provide complete modules and even boxes. This is what we are contracted by Maxar for the complete modules that they integrate for the PPE with NASA and ESA to be interchangeable at the box level with a 3U CPCI form factor. VPX might be more advanced but cPCI still prevails as you can use a chassis from another system and we are building a 3U CPCI switch and other systems, so it’s really a modular structure.”

The space hardware will be designed and produced in Vienna, Austria with RUAG for a a complete TTEthernet network with switches, network interface cards,  related software elements as well as network configuration tools.

Next: 3U compactPCI hosting unit 

The cards are integrated in a hosting unit that supports three configurable Ethernet traffic classes in a modular, compact and standardized design for maximum compatibility with Maxar’s avionics system.

“Maxar completed  the Systems Requirements Review for PPE, and we are now beginning to contract our sub-suppliers. We chose TTTech Aerospace because they can provide us with a complete, fault-tolerant, mature network solution allowing Maxar to implement our mission-critical applications. TTEthernet technology forms the backbone for inter-element data and network communications across the combined PPE-HALO spacecraft. We appreciate the support from their expert team,” said Vince Bilardo, Senior Executive Director for NASA Programs at Maxar Technologies.

The PPE will be integrated on the ground with Northrop Grumman’s Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) element of Gateway, and the combined PPE-HALO spacecraft will launch aboard a commercial heavy-lift rocket.

“In this project, RUAG Space brings together its strong expertise in space electronics engineering and manufacturing with TTTech’s expertise in software, fault-tolerant systems and customized electronic chips. RUAG Space will provide space qualified hardware (electronic units) that enable the use of the highly reliable TTEthernet technology in space applications,” said Luis De León Chardel, Executive Vice President ad interim at RUAG Space.

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