Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Precision space maneuvers

"embedded world" trade fair - Nuremberg

Spacecraft must operate with utmost precision when conducting landing maneuvers on other planets, or docking to a space station. To ensure they do not drift off course, imaging sensors collect a fl ood of data that are analyzed in real time.

The MUSE onboard computer allows a spacecraft to be piloted and positioned with pinpoint accuracy. © Fraunhofer FIRST

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Architecture and Software Technology FIRST have engineered a system based on multicore technologies that allow spacecraft to be piloted and positioned with pinpoint accuracy. It can be seen at the embedded world trade show in Nuremberg from February 28 to March 1, 2012 (Hall 5, Booth 228).

For a spacecraft to “see” and maintain its equilibrium, it needs a high-performance onboard computer. This device must process a myriad of sensor data simultaneously, and withstand the severe conditions of outer space. Through the MUSE project (Multicore Architecture for Sensor-based Position Tracking in Space), researchers are seeking to improve the positioning and guidance of such spacecraft.

Under the plan, scientists from FIRST developed an extremely high-performing onboard computer using modern multi-core processors. High-resolution cameras and infrared or radar sensors on the spacecraft deliver immense data volumes that help determine the position of the target object. These data have to be processed in real time, in order to compute the precise control of the vehicle. Spaceflight-enabled computers to date have always had to make sacrifi ces here, in terms of quality, due to the high performance requirements.

“In space, the major challenge is this: the system must provide an enormously high computing capacity, while power supply, weight, space and cooling requirements are kept to a minimum. In addition, cosmic radiation may cause sporadic data corruption, which has to be detected and rectifi ed by means of error tolerance mechanisms,” explains Samuel Pletner, in charge of Aerospace Business Development at FIRST. “We have to reliably eliminate the possibility of undetected errors leading to erroneous guidance commands and ultimately, uncontrolled movements of the spacecraft.”

The researchers solve the problem with the P4080 Multicore Processor, manufactured by Freescale, which is highly integrated and particularly robust. Besides maximum processing capacity, more effi cient error tolerance mechanisms can also be realized with these processors. Fraunhofer experts have devised complex position-detection algorithms specially designed for multi-core architectures. Thus, critical calculations can be conducted on a number of different processor cores, and the results checked through a reliable comparison.

The MUSE project is funded by the Space Flight Agency of the German Aerospace Center DLR, with funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

Samuel Pletner | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:

Further reports about: AEROSPACE Architecture FIRST LEGO League MUSE Multicore Space information technology

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht Creating living spaces for people: The »Fraunhofer CityLaboratory« at BAU 2017
14.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

nachricht Reducing Weight through Laser-assisted Material Processing in Automobile Construction
13.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>