MICO - Mission Critical Controller
In many space applications the mission critical controller (MICO) is a key element of the satellite control system. Among other functions, such a MICO offers the possibility to load and update software to the satellite without SW support onboard.
RUAG Space GmbH (RSA) has developed a controller board for space applications, intended to be used as "standard controller" in future projects. This board is based on the Atmel AT697 LEON2 fault tolerant processor and is equipped with a MIL-STD- 1553B remote terminal control interface. However, in its present form the board does not allow for direct SW update (without software intervention) via the control interface, hence it cannot be used for mission critical applications.
The implementation is entirely accomplished by modifications/augmentation of the processor module printed circuit board (PCB) and/or the (existing) processor module field- programmable gate array (FPGA), referred to as ECOM FPGA. Physical dimensions of the board as well as FPGA size and footprint are foreseen to remain unchanged.
The present study focuses on an assessment of the needs of possible users such as the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt and the choice of the adequate concept to be implemented. Prof. Andreas Steininger of the Institute of Computer Engineering of the Vienna University of Technology was strongly involved in this latter task.
In a next step the mission critical controller is planned to be incorporated into the existing RSA controller PCB-design as well as into the design of the ECOM FPGA. The results of this study will be the baseline for later use and success in operational programs, allowing to provide embedded onboard systems at lower cost, within a shorter time frame and with better performance than competitors.
RUAG Space GmbH - Gerhard Osterseher
Vienna University of Technology, Institute of Computer Engineering - Prof. Andreas Steininger