Figueiredo, Ken Winiecki, Terry Graessle, and Umesh Patel
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
"Study of the Utilization of Adaptive Computing in Space Applications"
represents a paradigm shift in computer design. The skills required to develop
applications range from algorithm analysis to complex logic design, HDL and FPGA design,
understanding of the numerous available adaptive computer architectures, and software
engineering. A common misconception among engineers is that the task fits only in either
the software or the hardware end of the engineering spectrum; in reality, it spans both.
The current state of the technology requires a hardware- engineering approach to
application design, but as the technology develops, higher-level design tools will allow
an application development approach more akin to that of software development.
The Adaptive Scientific Data Processing (ASDP) group at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has been investigating adaptive computing as a workstation augmentation technique for the processing of sensor data in the Earth resources area in order to implement low cost, application- specific processing stations. The utilization of adaptive computing for spacecraft on-board processing presents the same potentials and limitations found in ground-based applications with the exception that radiation-hardened FPGA devices which support adaptive computing are not yet available. As such, the lessons learned in the development of applications in ground-based telemetry processing are valid to the space- based segment as well. This paper describes the process of analyzing and implementing an EOS-era instrument calibration algorithm utilizing an adaptive computer. It describes the design process and presents the limitations found on the current tools. The paper concludes with a proposal for new features that would improve the current development tools to better support the adaptive computing application design paradigm.
Last Revised: February 03, 2010
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