Concept and methodology
S4Pro will implement a smart and scalable high-performance space processing chain designed for missions with main focus on Earth observation systems.
As the processing chain S4Pro understands the entire chain for data processing that starts right after the instruments electronic module (sensors) and ends with the processing in the ground station or at other end-points (such as e.g. aerial vehicles). S4Pro will research and innovate a coherent part of this described chain with special attention to on-board processing as the widely believed most critical key-enabling technology for improvements in the entire chain. Next generation on-board processing that will substitute significant parts of previous ground processing in the future bares many challenges such as to:
Advance and to embed standardized communication mechanisms such as multi-node/large network capable mechanisms, e.g. DDS for real-time communication
Improve reliability for systems partly implemented on non-space qualified technology while achieving high performance and power efficiency (in order to reduce costs especially for commercial and small systems)
Handle the processing of complex algorithms (that also might be subject to future changes based on mission design)
Improve payload processing performance, especially for mixed criticality tasks.
Enable high-speed and flexible communication processing (wide-band SDR and transceiver)
Develop re-configurable high-data-rate links to ground stations, other satellites, or aerial vehicles
Miniaturize processing systems to drive wider employment in nano- and other small satellites
Increase scalability of the on-board processing system
Develop smart algorithms for efficient on-board image compression or final image product generation, such as for high-data-rate imaging
In order to answer major challenges S4Pro will address algorithm, software, and hardware design.
The algorithms designs will be divided based on the types of applications, which will be optical instrument related, radar based, and telecommunication related.
The software design will be driven as well by application needs, whereas S4Pro will differentiate software more in general, since an entire re-design for each kind of application needs to be avoided. The S4Pro software development efforts will be divided into: Management software, High-performance scientific and signal processing libraries, and the actual application software. The management software will include SW components at lower OSI layers (i.e. from subnetwork layer to application support layer), whereas the high-performance libraries will be already at the application layer including the most performance critical subroutines of the actual applications.
Together with the application related algorithms the management software and the high-performance libraries will integrate into the application software.
Due to most satellite missions’ processing tasks of mixed criticality, S4Pro’s hybrid design will combine industrial grade System on Chip (SoC) processors in combination with industrial grade FPGAs, and a radiation tolerant system control module (for command and control tasks) to deliver fault tolerance, data integrity, but still scalable performance.