30 August 2004 ESF-X: a low-cost modular experiment computer for space flight experiments
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Abstract
The high cost associated with spaceflight research often compels experimenters to scale back their research goals significantly purely for budgetary reasons; among experiment systems, control and data collection electronics are a major contributor to total project cost. ESF-X was developed as an architecture demonstration in response to this need: it is a highly capable, radiation-protected experiment support computer, designed to be configurable on demand to each investigator's particular experiment needs, and operational in LEO for missions lasting up to several years (e.g., ISS EXPRESS) without scheduled service or maintenance. ESF-X can accommodate up to 255 data channels (I/O, A/D, D/A, etc.), allocated per customer request, with data rates up to 40kHz. Additionally, ESF-X can be programmed using the graphical block-diagram based programming languages Simulink and MATLAB. This represents a major cost saving opportunity for future investigators, who can now obtain a customized, space-qualified experiment controller at steeply reduced cost compared to 'new' design, and without the performance compromises associated with using preexisting 'generic' systems. This paper documents the functional benchtop prototype, which utilizes a combination of COTS and space-qualified components, along with unit-gravity-specific provisions appropriate to laboratory environment evaluation of the ESF-X design concept and its physical implementation.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Steven Sell, Joseph Zapetis, Jim Littlefield, Joanne Vining, "ESF-X: a low-cost modular experiment computer for space flight experiments", Proc. SPIE 5419, Spacecraft Platforms and Infrastructure, (30 August 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.542756; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.542756
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