The Scalable on-board Computing for Space Avionics (ScOSA) project aims to develop a distributed, heterogeneous and reliable On-Board Computer (OBC), offering more computing performance than current OBCs and the option to reconfigure the entire OBC whenever needed.
Future space missions face enormous challenges. One of them is the demand of high computing performance for on-board data processing, especially in the domains of earth observation and robotics. Driving forces behind these domains are an increase in the resolution of sensors and the need for autonomous navigation. To cope with such demands, on-board computers of the future have to provide higher computing power to process data and control subsystems while still ensuring the required reliability. Such on-board computers are currently unavailable which further emphasizes the need for further research in this field.
This is where the ScOSA project comes into play. Within this project, DLR internal hardware as well as software developments in the field of OBCs are combined to develop a scalable high-performance OBC. It consists of different computing nodes which are interconnected via a switched SpaceWire network. Computing nodes are either reliable space-qualified (RCN) or high-performance COTS (HPN) components. The overall system can be scaled to the specific mission requirements. In contrast to the commonly used approach of a one-to-one mapping of redundant computing units to reach higher reliability, the ScOSA on-board computer introduces a more flexible and efficient concept. In case of a failure, the system is able to migrate the tasks of the affected parts to other spare computing units, thereby reconfiguring itself automatically. This approach also offers the possibility to reuse existing computing power of the system in case of a mission change. An example would be a lander which requires high computing power to navigate during the landing process until it reaches the surface. This computing power can then be reused at the surface for scientific experiments through a reconfiguration from landing into exploration mode.
Fig.: ScOSA node types
DLR Simulation and Software Technology Tasks
DLR's Simulation and Software Technology focuses on software development and the integration of the ScOSA On-Board Computer. In detail, the work packages consist of:
01/01/2016 - 31/12/2018