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Proceedings Paper

ESF-X: a low-cost modular experiment computer for space flight experiments
Author(s): Steven Sell; Joseph Zapetis; Jim Littlefield; Joanne Vining
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Paper Abstract

The high cost associated with spaceflight research often compels experimenters to scale back their research goals significantly purely for budgetary reasons; among experiment systems, control and data collection electronics are a major contributor to total project cost. ESF-X was developed as an architecture demonstration in response to this need: it is a highly capable, radiation-protected experiment support computer, designed to be configurable on demand to each investigator's particular experiment needs, and operational in LEO for missions lasting up to several years (e.g., ISS EXPRESS) without scheduled service or maintenance. ESF-X can accommodate up to 255 data channels (I/O, A/D, D/A, etc.), allocated per customer request, with data rates up to 40kHz. Additionally, ESF-X can be programmed using the graphical block-diagram based programming languages Simulink and MATLAB. This represents a major cost saving opportunity for future investigators, who can now obtain a customized, space-qualified experiment controller at steeply reduced cost compared to 'new' design, and without the performance compromises associated with using preexisting 'generic' systems. This paper documents the functional benchtop prototype, which utilizes a combination of COTS and space-qualified components, along with unit-gravity-specific provisions appropriate to laboratory environment evaluation of the ESF-X design concept and its physical implementation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 August 2004
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5419, Spacecraft Platforms and Infrastructure, (30 August 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.542756
Show Author Affiliations
Steven Sell, Payload Systems Inc. (United States)
Joseph Zapetis, Payload Systems Inc. (United States)
Jim Littlefield, Littlefield Associates (United States)
Joanne Vining, Payload Systems Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5419:
Spacecraft Platforms and Infrastructure
Peter Tchoryk; Melissa Wright, Editor(s)

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