TTTech recently signed a long-term development agreement with European space market leader Airbus Safran Launchers to utilize TTEthernet as avionics backbone in the Ariane 6 family of launchers.
Main elements of the contract between Airbus Safran Launchers and TTTech include product lifetime technical support, software development (firmware, tooling), and co-funding for the production and qualification of 100/1000 Mbps TTEthernet semiconductor devices intended to be used in all major subsystems of the launcher. The declared goal of Airbus Safran Launchers’ parent company and TTTech is a wider usage of Deterministic Ethernet technology in various different spacecraft (including satellites) in order to simplify software development, maximize reuse, and thus reduce system lifecycle costs across different space programs. The radiation-tolerant components support both strictly deterministic traffic (Time-Triggered Ethernet and ARINC A664 compliant) as well as standard, “best-effort” Ethernet communication. The very same technology is also used in volume applications such as automotive advanced driver assistance and real-time industrial controls. This shows that the space market moves away from costly niche solutions towards widely adopted technologies which help to reduce cost and minimize obsolescence risk.
The development agreement allows for an earlier release of radiation hardened TTEthernet ASIC devices using state-of-the-art, low power 65 nanometer CMOS technology. The partnership supports the ambitious Ariane 6 program timelines with Airbus Safran Launchers Electronics as a lead customer. Research and development for the use of TTEthernet in launchers had been supported by CNES and ESA within several programs since 2012. The resulting System-on-Chip (SoC) components will implement TTEthernet networking and computing required for the development of advanced integrated space avionics and systems.
TTEthernet was introduced to the global aerospace market in 2006, and later deployed by NASA as avionics backbone network in the Orion/MPCV program.