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Jun 15, 2016

Start of Working Group for Space CompactPCI Serial

The call for participation in the PICMG working group for Space CompactPCI Serial has recently been closed, and the initial meeting for starting the activities has been scheduled. In the extension of the CompactPCI Serial specification, the definition of a dual star architecture and an open management bus is planned. 

PICMG Standard Space CompactPCI Serial
  • Call for participation is now finished
  • Working group is set to start
  • First changes of specification already done

Availability and Open Interfaces for Space Applications

Initialized by Airbus, the PICMG working group for the extension of the CompactPCI Serial specification to create a new Space CompactPCI Serial standard has started its activities. Until now, all important European-based suppliers in the space market have committed to join the working group.

Manfred Schmitz, CEO and founder of MEN Mikro Elektronik, who was already significantly involved in the development of the CompactPCI Serial standard, is acting as a close technical adviser to the group. “As early as 2011, when the CompactPCI Serial standard was released, we saw a big potential for CompactPCI Serial, which combines the well-proven robust and modular 19’’-mechanics with state-of-the-art serial interfaces. As expected, the standard has been very well accepted, but we are pleasantly surprised to see it now becoming suitable for space!”, he states.

“Commercialization of aerospace progresses and increases the pressure on the established companies to develop competitive products for this market. This is, in my opinion, only possible by consequently counting on existing international standards, adapting them to the requirements in space. With our contribution to the definition of Space CompactPCI Serial, we want to take a significant step in the right direction”, explains Hans-Jürgen Herpel, Expert Advanced Avionics Software for Space Systems at Airbus.

For a long time VPX was – except for completely customized solutions - the only standard for embedded systems in space.

Compared to VPX, the flexible CompactPCI Serial standard offers an easier and cost-optimized development. For Space CompactPCI Serial, an increased availability due to a dual star architecture will now be added. This defines two system slots, so if one CPU fails, the functionality of the complete system will not be affected. In addition to that, a utility connector, which can be controlled and configured via an open management bus, is available. It takes over the hot-plug functionality as it was used for CompactPCI Serial, and allows single cards within a system to be switched on and off. Hot-plug functionality is indeed not necessary for satellites in the orbit, but is extremely useful during integration on ground as well as for test systems.

As a next step, the working group plans to define the mechanical requirements to cope with the environmental conditions in space.

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