"On NASA Earth Sciences’ Representative Spaceflight
Instrument and Associated Sensor Web Framework"

Semion Kizhner

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Goddard Space Flight Center


Transparent network-based adaptation and sharing of space flight mission resources, including those of the Space-Ground/Control-User-Communications segments, could greatly benefit from utilization of Internet devices and protocols applied for Space or SpaceIP. This had been demonstrated, in principle, by a few recent spaceflight experiments. However, while the terrestrial part of the SpaceIP is well developed and understood, the flight segment of SpaceIP is still in its infancy. Progress in the developments of Space Segment enabled SpaceIP components will largely determine the SpaceIP progress and acceptance in years to come. In this paper we present an approach in developing related and enabling instrument-level technologies based on the new concept of Instrument Sensor Web (ISW). This concept is new and different from the heritage concept of sensor web and it is a view from both the scientific and the engineering perspectives. This new view of an instrument as a sensor web is amendable to earth science spaceflight missions (especially the missions presently in proposal phase), such as Ocean Carbon, Ecosystem and Near Shore mission. The sensor signal processing electronics building blocks for this representative mission can be viewed as a sensor web with heterogeneous sensors and heterogeneous interfaces, and with a combination of heritage electrical and wireless interfaces. The topologies for these electronics building blocks can be developed into enabling ISW architectures, which will result in low cost, redundant and intelligent on-board data pre-processing, solid state recorder multi-function data housing, alternative data compression schemes, and data downlink protocols based on SpaceIP. In this paper we present the outline of the theoretical framework for an instrument sensor web and the architecture of the FPGA-based signal and information processing building blocks for ISW.

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