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Launchers or launch vehicles are used to carry spacecraft as well as payloads, such as satellites into space. They are powered by rockets with powerful boosters and drives to help propel them from Earth into orbit, where they release their cargo. To enable more sustainable launches, ESA, ArianeGroup, as well as private space companies are now researching and developing reusable rockets and launch vehicles that can travel to space multiple times.
Technology requirements in the launch vehicle market
Technology and products used in launchers not only need to withstand extreme temperatures and strong vibrations during launch, but also the harsh environment and radiation in space. Therefore, networking platforms and components used in launchers need to be robust and very compact and light-weight, as size and weight effect the cost of launch and the amount of payload a launcher can carry. The connection and communication of systems within the launcher and the data transmission to Earth has to be seamless and highly reliable.
Benefits of TTTech Aerospace’s solutions for launchers
TTTech Aerospace supports the reduction of size, weight and power (SWaP) and high data throughputs by providing modular, deterministic embedded network and platform solutions. TTTech Aerospace’s products fulfil very high quality and production standards and are qualifiable for the use in extremely harsh environments. The product portfolio ranges from ASICs, switch and end system hardware to networking and computing platforms with embedded software and also includes software tools, testing and lab equipment. Series products are available to support a wide variety of space applications.
TTEthernet® is a scalable, standards-based technology that delivers deterministic real-time communication and enables the transmission of safety-critical messages as well as standard communication data on one data network. TTTech Aerospace has developed, manufactured, and qualified its radiation hardened TTEthernet® controller and the related embedded software that is used in the new European launcher generation Ariane 6.
TTTech Aerospace’s solutions offer:
- Reliable, qualifiable system solutions: TTTech Aerospace provides components, software and tooling, as well as complete networked computing software and hardware platforms based on Deterministic Ethernet
- High-performance and highly efficient data transfer with bandwidths of up to 1 Gbit/s: supports applications requiring high-speeds to transfer large amounts of data and allows future extensions to the system.
- Easier integration and reconfiguration: time synchronization implemented in hardware saves costs for dedicated software and network integration
- Safe, reliable systems: fault tolerance and fault containment implemented in hardware increase safety and keep the system operational at all times
- Mixed-criticality architectures simplify software and avionics and reduce system lifecycle costs: use of a single network for command and control, as well as payload data with three traffic classes (best-effort Ethernet acc. to IEEE 802.3, rate-constrained traffic acc. to ARINC 664 part 7 and Time-Triggered Ethernet acc. to SAE AS6802) using the same physical medium/network.
- Modularity and flexibility: deterministic network solutions and components enable scalable and modular system architectures and the interoperability with standard Ethernet provides more flexibility in applications
- Use of open, Ethernet-based, international standards: TTTech Aerospace leverages synergies from many years of cross-industry experience from the aerospace, automotive, and industrial automation industries in developing new solutions for the space sector
Products and components for space need to comply with all standards required for the project or application and have to be qualified for the use in the harsh environment of space, which includes wide temperature ranges and radiation. TTTech Aerospace’s products are based on and integrate the open industry standards IEEE 802.3, ARINC 664 part 7 and SAE AS6802 to allow for maximum flexibility and interoperability within large projects and programs, e.g. NASA’s Gateway. All products are qualifiable according to QMLV, the highest qualification level for integrated circuits and comply with the open international space industry standards International Avionics System Interoperability Standards (IASIS) and ECSS-E-ST-50-16C standard for Time-Triggered Ethernet (European space engineering standard).