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Digital archive of theses discussed at the University of Pisa


Thesis etd-09062021-101714

Thesis type
Tesi di dottorato di ricerca
Thesis title
Academic discipline
Course of study
tutor Prof. Fanucci, Luca
  • EGSE
  • Embedded System
  • OBDH
  • Spacecraft
  • SpaceFibre
  • SpaceWire
  • SpFi
  • SpW
  • Test Equipment
Graduation session start date
Release date
Space exploration has always led humans to overcome their limits and to expand their knowledge. For example, since the launch of Sputnik-1, satellites have played a crucial role in cosmology. However, the first satellites were limited to collecting data and information about the nature of the surrounding space. Nowadays, satellites are not limited to space exploration. Still, they are also used to improve the quality of our life by providing, for example, real-time geo-location services, observation of terrestrial phenomena, and satellite telecommunications systems. In May 2019, the European Space Agency (ESA) released the SpaceFibre standard. SpaceFibre is a serial protocol for high-speed communications that need data rates of Gbps. ESA presents it as the natural evolution of the reference standard for onboard communication satellites: SpaceWire.
SpaceFibre standard defines a complex protocol; Specific competencies and considerable effort are necessary to develop and validate systems based on SpaceFibre standard. Therefore, SpaceFibre can be seen as a SpaceWire extension. A system engineer is free to decide whether replace SpaceWire entirely or in part.
This work addresses the challenges of creating innovative, comprehensive, and effective Electrical Ground Support Equipment (EGSE) capable of testing future generation devices based on SpaceFibre standard, the upcoming protocol for onboard high-speed communications. For the next generation Spacecraft onboard communication, the following enabling technologies were designed, developed, and tested during the last three years of research activities: a SpaceFibre protocol implementation and SpaceFibre related EGSE systems.
A SpaceFibre hardware macrocell was implemented in technology-independent Hardware Description Language (HDL) to be effortlessly ported to a different technology. Implementation of SpaceFibre EGSE systems was based on the outcome of the SpaceFibre IP-Core development. Two complete SpaceFibre and SpaceWire EGSE systems have been developed in collaboration with IngeniArs s.r.l.: SpaceART and the SpaceWire/SpaceFibre PXI Analyser Real-Time.
The SpaceART EGSE solution, described in detail in Chapter 3, is based on a custom hardware platform and exploits the onboard dual-core ARM microprocessor features. The SpaceWire/SpaceFibre PCI Analyser Real-Time is an EGSE solution based on a Standard Platform. It is the first SpaceFibre test equipment natively integrated into the LabVIEW environment, and the final results of its implementation are presented in Chapter 4. Both EGSE systems are equipped with SpaceWire and SpaceFibre protocols. They serve as reference equipment for testing and validating any future design/product related to SpaceFibre technology, making them essential to support the early adoption of this promising upcoming protocol by the Space Industry. The major challenge overcame thanks to the development of SpaceFibre ESGE is the capability to achieve a data rate of 6.25 Gbps per lane, covering the maximum SpaceFibre data rates in a single-lane implementation, defined by the SpaceFibre standard itself. Moreover, both EGSE solutions presented in this research activity can exchange data with the host-PC in real-time by exploiting the high-speed remote host communication interfaces without affecting the communication link in terms of data-bandwidth decrease.
Finally, an innovative unobtrusive SpaceWire link analyser solution is presented in Chapter 5. This SpaceWire Sniffer introduces very advanced trigger chainable conditions. One of the most important outcomes achieved with the SpaceWire link analyser is the capability of this system to recognize very complex operative conditions. The features mentioned above are essential to empower SpaceWire device developers to test and verify their work with deserved accuracy and effectiveness.