Modular, Self-Contained Data Acquisition & Control System for Flight Payloads

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
12030 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 400, Reston Plaz, Reston, VA, 20191
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Lawrence Davis
Principal Investigator
(321) 768-6500
Business Contact:
Paul Banas
Vice President
(985) 639-3529
Research Institution:
The increasing emphasis on the use of smaller satellites for space experiments and operational systems by the DoD and NASA has given rise to increasing standardization of small-sat systems, resulting in reduced costs and acquisition time. However, becauseof inevitable trades between resources and capability, there remains a strong need for a standardized architecture for implementing experiments (e.g., active control experiments) requiring high computational and data acquisition throughput. Further,modularization of an experiment allows the experiment team to develop and operate with much less impact on the satellite than would be the case otherwise.One key component of such a modularized architecture is the payload computer and data acquisition/control system. We propose to define the architecture for a self-contained system based on commercial off-the-shelf components that greatly simplifiespayload development by providing a simple, scalable interface and easy to use software to perform payload data acquisition and control. To assess feasibility, we will specialize the design to AFRL's PowerSail flight experiment, which has particularlychallenging requirements for data acquisition and control. The result of Phase I is a detailed architecture definition including vendor selections for COTS items, and a detailed cost and schedule estimate for production of a prototype. Our proposed architecture has significant benefits for experiment payload development programs:¿ Potential reduction in power consumption by retaining a simpler, low-power flight computer while using a separate payload computer for computationally intensive experiment tasks: the experiment computer may be turned off when not in use.¿ Reduction of cost and risk associated with the specification and implementation of data acquisition and control by the experiment developer, instead of the system integrator.¿ Much more thorough testing of integrated software, electronics, and experiment due to earlier integration at the experiment contractor.¿ Reduction of cost of development due to the prior engineering of low-level software and electronic elements of the payload control system, including qualification testing and documentation.¿ Increased responsiveness to and exploitation of evolving space electronics technology due to modularity and standardization of interfaces within the controller, both hardware and software.¿ Reduced costs of acquisition for experiment payload due to simpler, cleaner interfaces between the payload and the host spacecraft.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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