"Universal FPGA Support Device for Space Applications"

Joseph R. Marshall
BAE Systems

Abstract

Reconfigurability is a key element to extracting the most from any spacecraft or spacecraft subsystem.  It allows systems to become more autonomous, maximizes their usage once deployed, and delays obsolescence by allowing new uses of the spaceborne asset, often in ways not envisioned by its creators.  Advancements in field programmable devices and non-volatile memories now make this possible.  Initial systems have been fielded and space qualified.  Based on this experience, it is important that enabling infrastructure and cost and power effective building blocks be created to move this forward to build usable reconfigurable systems. 

In this paper we will describe a new building block under development for reconfigurable systems marrying support circuitry for reconfigurable devices and non-volatile configuration memory into an integrated and expandable building block based on BAE Systems technologies in non-volatile memories and reconfigurable support logic.  We will discuss the application of this building block and its insertion into various reconfigurable processing systems.  We will discuss trades that went into its architecture, design and development and lessons learned.  We will discuss the flexibility, applicability across FPGA families and the savings in size and power that are being utilized through its usage.  We will conclude with a description of a test board that will allow testing of the device elements, demonstration of reconfigurable applications, connections to various interfaces such as CompactPCI, SpaceWire and Rocket IO and insertion into the Space Plug and Play test bed.

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