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Spacefibre IMPLementation design test Equipment (SIMPLE)

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Simplifying spacecraft communications through SpaceFibre technology

The EU-funded SIMPLE project helped develop the enabling technology that will power the high-speed onboard communications of future space missions.

SPACE

© Andrey Armyagov, Shutterstock

Behind every successful space mission is the transferring of a massive amount of data. Traditionally, this data transfer happens via SpaceWire, a spacecraft communication network coordinated by the European Space Agency (ESA). However, space missions are becoming increasingly complex, and the SpaceWire standard is no longer able to provide the high-speed data transmissions these missions demand. As a result, the ESA has issued SpaceFibre – a new standard for high-speed communication in space systems. SpaceFibre’s complexity creates new challenges for space system developers, particularly as to the design and implementation of systems that comply with the standard and the need to test the equipment used to validate such a system. The EU-funded SIMPLE project aims to solve both. “Through the SIMPLE project, IngeniArs has developed the enabling technology for very high-speed onboard communications for the space missions of the future,” says project coordinator Luca Fanucci. “In doing so, we aim to provide the customer with a powerful instrument to simplify the development of their system based on SpaceFibre technology.” IngeniArs, the lead partner behind the SIMPLE project, is an Italian spin-off company of the University of Pisa that offers highly advanced hardware/software solutions in such strategic areas as aerospace, telemedicine, and automotive. A full suite of products With the support of the SIMPLE project, IngeniArs has positioned itself as one of the earliest adopters of the new SpaceFibre standard protocol for onboard communications. Through the project, the company developed a full suite of products that support space industry players in SpaceFibre system design – from development to testing and verification. These products include everything from an innovative solution for developing a SpaceFibre IP-core to equipment for testing and validating designs related to SpaceFibre technology (i.e. SpaceArt). There’s even a module for the National Instruments test equipment platform with a PXI interface. “The interesting features and performances of each of these three individual products make SIMPLE a unique solution within the European aerospace market,” explains IngeniArs Space Products Manager Daniele Davalle. “That being said, SpaceArt is clearly the flagship project, offering a flexible, reliable, and fully-customisable, standalone solution for validating the SpaceFibre standard.” New opportunities ahead With SpaceFibre expected to be the new onboard communication protocol for future aerospace missions, it is essential to support skilled companies capable of providing this new technology, as well as developing products and solutions covering the standard. “The SIMPLE project allowed IngeniArs to increase our visibility in the space industry, opening up a wide range of opportunities in the immediate future and for long-term collaborations, even with major players in the highly-competitive European aerospace sector,” adds Fanucci. Although the SIMPLE project is officially over, IngeniArs’ work has really just begun. With the SpaceFibre standard having gone into effect on 15 May 2019, the company is now busy marketing its portfolio of innovative solutions, with an eye to developing a range of new products too. “We will continue to improve our products’ performance and efficiency and focus on building our customer base and increasing sales,” says Fanucci. “Thanks to our involvement with the SIMPLE project, there are many opportunities ahead.”

Keywords

SIMPLE, IngeniArs, aerospace, European Space Agency, ESA, space, spacecraft communication, SpaceWire, SpaceFibre

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 757038

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 February 2017

  • End date

    31 January 2019

Funded under:

H2020-EU.2.1.6.

H2020-EU.2.3.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 912 930

  • EU contribution

    € 639 051

Coordinated by:

INGENIARS SRL