What benefits does the Avionics Laboratory deliver?
The Laboratory supports the work of ESA's Control, Data and Software Systems divisions, providing a suitable environment for demonstrating the results of Basic Technology Research Programme (TRP) and General Support Technology Programme (GSTP) projects and associated R&D work.
It also enables the assessment of new avionics technologies at early project stages on behalf of both ESA and European industry. In particular its End-to-End Avionics Test Bench is invaluable to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) which might otherwise lack assured access to such a test facility.
Standardised system architectures and building blocks which can be reused on later missions are a promising method of cutting avionics costs. The work of the Laboratory supports standardisation efforts such as the ESA-established SpaceWire standard for onboard networks, as well as contributing to avionics standards established by the European Cooperation on Space Standardization (ECSS).
Its microelectronics research has helped foster space specific microprocessors and other devices, about to enter service as ESA's new standard CPU for orbital computers and data systems, as well as establishing the likely shape and performance of next generation microprocessors.
Current areas of study includes the assessment of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) for control applications and also wireless systems on the data side to slash satellite mass and integration time.
The Control Hardware Lab supports testing and evaluation of new detector technologies with emphasis on Active Pixel Sensors and MEMS rate sensors.
It is well adapted to perform long duration, low dose rate, radiation testing which would be too expensive for industry.
In preparation of innovative developments, it allows breadboard development and testing of new sensor concepts and ideas at both hardware and software level, such as sun sensor on a chip.
The Control Software Lab can improve industry efficiency through the introduction of new techniques and tools developed in Open Source (advanced control synthesis and performance analysis toolboxes and optimisers), can support emerging applications by the development of specific tools not yet available and can support the development and/or upgrade of commercial European multi-mission and specialised GNC/AOCS and Astrodynamics toolkits for design analysis and performance verification.
Last update: 28 September 2009