Electronic components used in a spacecraft need to fulfill very high quality and production standards and work reliably in extremely harsh environments. TTTech Aerospace and the firm’s semiconductor partner, STMicroelectronics, have completed the development, industrialization and qualification of highly integrated, radiation-hardened TTEthernet® Systems on Chip (SoCs) network controllers. They are used in deterministic, fault-tolerant, Ethernet-based networks for space applications. The successfully qualified TTESwitch Controller HiRel and TTEEnd System Controller HiRel are already being used in the avionics systems of two major launcher programs and on one robotic program.
With the qualification successfully completed, TTESwitch Controller HiRel and TTEEnd System Controller HiRel are now available as series products, ready for use in a broad variety of space flight applications, such as launch vehicles, satellites or robotic applications.
TTTech Aerospace’s TTEthernet® network controllers (TTEEnd System Controller HiRel and TTESwitch Controller HiRel) uniquely act as Systems on Chip (SoCs). They support three traffic classes: standard Ethernet (IEEE802.3), rate constrained and time-triggered traffic (SAE AS6802) for a wide variety of networking applications. Thanks to their high Gigabit/second bandwidths, the network controllers are ideal for real-time transfer of high data payloads (e.g. high-resolution images and videos) and hard real-time transmission of safety-critical control data with short latency over one single network. A wide range of interfaces allows for high flexibility in connecting to electronics hardware for easy integration.
The TTEEnd System Controller HiRel and TTESwitch Controller HiRel are equipped with an integrated LEON2 CPU for system management and diagnostics that ensures automatic time synchronization of the application to the network. The chip is based on a radiation-hardened design process and packaged in a cost-efficient plastic package. This ensures reliability in harsh environments requiring high radiation tolerance for applications like launch vehicles and low earth orbit (LEO) satellites.
“Our TTEthernet® SoCs network controllers are the first of their kind worldwide to enter series production. They act as a ‘central nervous system’ connecting all systems in the spacecraft. Their modular and deterministic nature supports design optimization and a significant reduction in software complexity and equipment size. This reduces system integration as well as verification and validation effort, enabling faster development of more capable, lower cost, fault-tolerant computing platforms for avionics and control applications,” said Christian Fidi, Senior Vice President Business Unit Aerospace, TTTech.