12, August 2019

ESA Open Invitation to Tender AO9815
Open Date: 23/07/2019
Closing Date: 27/09/2019 13:00:00

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 19.1ED.03
Prog. Ref.: GSTP Element 1 Dev
Budget Ref.: E/0904-611 – GSTP Element 1 Dev
Special Prov.: DE
Tender Type: C
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Products: Satellites & Probes / On-board Data Management / On Board Data Management / Central Data Management Units (CDMU) or Satellite Management Units (SMU)
Technology Domains: Onboard Data Systems / Onboard Data Management / Onboard Computers
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. & Quality
Department: Electrical Department
Division: Data Syst & Microelectronics Division
Contract Officer: Erkelens-Sickinger, Franziska
Industrial Policy Measure: N/A – Not apply
Last Update Date: 23/07/2019
Update Reason: Tender issue

Data fusion can play an important role in future avionics especially in smart, small and low cost spacecraft. Those platforms require reliable and different types of sensory data, pre-processing and fusing them to obtain better information regarding their objectives, information which cannot be acquired by a single sensor alone with the same level of reliability and availability. Sensor fusion is particularly applicable for AOCS for object detection, navigation and autonomous manoeuvres. To perform data fusion a performance leap in space-borne control electronics is required, since available (and proposed) processing platforms, like LEON-based SoC (SCOC3, GR712, GR740) are not sufficient. Even current FPGAs, like Xilinx’s V5 or Microsemi’s RTG4 might not have the right performances and architecture to do this job, since a close optimisation of pure bitstream processing (FPGA-based) and slow control (processor based) is needed. The activity targets demonstration of use of hi-performance SoC FPGAs in a ‘COTS-based platform’ (mini/nano/cube etc, but with main target to super constellations fallout products) to be used as an highly integrated computer to perform an intermediate sensor data processing and fusion step for (e.g) AOCS sensors or payloads with sensor acquisition and pre-processing (calibration, selection, checks, monitoring, fusion), actuators data processing (configuration, parameters monitoring) and newer functions like SW-defined-GNSS, assisted by STR data fusion, in flight orbit and environmental parameters propagation, visual based navigation, autonomous visual based target pointing but also payload data fusion for physical measurement gathered from diverse sensors (e.g. radiation, plasma). Due to the vast number of sensors inputs, such applications pose high demands on the memory capacity and bandwidth. FPGA-based reconfigurable computing systems are already (in commercial electronics) the most cost and power-effective solutions, in particular in a remote sensing system by means of a commonly employed application and fusion software. Multiple designs for multiscale data-fusion algorithms, developed for FPGA-based platforms, have demonstrated speedup over pure processor-based solutions. Past results of related ESA activities depict that well over an order of magnitude improvement in speed, and two order improvement in power efficiency can be obtained with efficient designs and appropriate hardware resources. Choice of Zinq7000 series SoC FPGAs as baseline demonstration platform is related to some existing space heritage (GOMSpace, CNES) and knowledge of good radiationperformance and may lead to products applicable to the aggressive commercial (cubesat, minisat, telecom constellations) market, withan additional HW+SW layer that takes care of guaranteeing a good dependability after radiation effects. The target TRL is 5, starting from existing studies that have demonstrated feasibility of high-frame-rate image processing, Star Tracker processing, SW-basedGNSS in this type of platform. The activity includes the following tasks: Identify a common, modular architecture, based on Zinq7030 SoC COTS FPGA, that fulfils dependability and budget (size, cost, power) requirements for different COTS based class of missions (cubesat, minisat, aggressive commercial, possibly LEO institutional). Detailed design of a hardware proof-of-concept demonstrator. Selection and design of a GNC demonstrator use case, incorporating some existing AOCS sensor acquisition and pre-processing functionsto be optimised for their implementation on the target demonstrator. Manufacturing of the computing system, testing, software integration in field demonstration. NOTE: THIS ACTIVITY IS CURRENTLY IN THE GSTP WORK PLAN BUT WILL ONLY BE IMPLEMENTED AFTER CONFIRMATION OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM DELEGATIONS. AT THAT TIME A PLANNED QUARTER FOR TENDER ISSUE WILL BE CONFIRMED AND BIDDERS WILL BE ABLE TO EXPRESS THEIR INTEREST IN THE ACTIVITY.

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