WFI CPM evaluation

Evaluation of a processor architecture for the development of the central processor module for WFI on ATHENA

Short Description

Ausgangssituation / Motivation

The Space Research Institute (IWF), Austrian Academy of Sciences is participating in the development of the ATHENA’s Wield Field Imager (WFI) data processing chain.

ATHENA – Advanced Telescope for High-ENergy Astrophysics – will be an X-ray telescope designed to address the ESA’s science theme 'The Hot and Energetic Universe', and it was selected as the second L-class mission in the Cosmic Vision 2015–25 plan of the European Space Agency.

WFI itself is a powerful new X-ray camera based on unique silicon depleted p-channel field effect transistors (DEPFET) technology. Four large-format (512x512 pixel) DEPFET devices build a large detector array (LDA), a fifth DEPFET comprises the Fast Detector (FD), which both feed their signals into five detector electronics (DE) boxes that perform the on-board pre-processing.

The output from the DE boxes is combined and fed to the spacecraft by the Instrument Control and Power-distribution Unit (ICPU) The interface between the DE boxes and the ICPU is built by the Spacewire router, which bundles the 5 incoming Spacewire lines to one and forward the data to the central processing module (CPM) and the science processing module (SPM). Both the Spacewire router and the CPM are built by the IWF.

The core of the CPM with its different memory blocks and an FPGA for hardware functions is a processor, which handles and controls the data flow including data compression. A GR740 Quad-Core LEON4 SPARC V8 Processor from Cobham shall be used.

Inhalte und Zielsetzungen

The goal of the proposed project is to test and assess the capabilities of the GR740 with respect to the needs for WFI on ATHENA. Such test can be done by means of GR-CPCI-GR740 development board available from Cobham. The final assessment in turn shall provide feedback for the final definition of data formats and data rates coming from the detector electronics.

Project Partners


Austrian Academy of Sciences Institute for Space Research

Contact Address

Austrian Academy of Sciences Institute for Space Research
DI. Gunter Laky
Schmiedlstraße 6
A-8042 Graz