The avionics is the centrepiece of all space systems. All control tasks, mission data processing, energy generation and storage, as well as communication with ground control are carried out by the avionics system. The reliability of the avionics system is therefore of utmost importance. At the same time, applications such as complex video processing and autonomous control require enhanced processing performance while keeping tight restrictions on, e.g, energy resources and space.
The department of Avionics Systems works in this field in close collaboration with the Group of Reliable Embedded Systems at the University of Bremen.
The department of Avionics Systems develops subsystems for Command and Data Handling (CDH), energy supply and communications, which must be reliable to handle the high demands. In terms of missions, the department is responsible for data processing, telemetry/telecommand, energy generation, storage and distribution, as well as the interfaces between the subsystems. The department is also studying the future of avionics, which targets high computing performance and the use of cost-effective components. The department performs tasks related to the development of electronics, and the development of intellectual property cores on a register transfer level, as well as application software, including the associated tests and validation tasks. The comprehensive cross-departmental and institutional insight into mission planning, the entire system and the detailed technical development of the space system are important factors in this process.
A great level of detail in the design of key components is necessary to control the overall system architecture. An example of this is the development of a scalable On-Board Computer (OBC), that allows for adapting the essential, typically interdependent, parameters can be adapted. This includes technical aspects such as the number of interfaces required, the redundancy concept, or the processors, as well as the non-technical elements such as life span and cost.
At the same time, this level of detail also enables a deep insight into associated processes; these include tests and the validation of the overall system, and even allow for further research in the design methodology. An example of this is the work being done on the automated assessment of the effects of transient failures in highly integrated circuits, which links detailed modelling and effective proof methods for formal verification.
In general, this is how DLR research missions are supported, and contributions to the research of space systems technology are delivered.