[Ground-station] NDA - Ettus, GOLF, Phase 4 Space
zleffke at vt.edu
Fri Jun 15 13:29:11 EDT 2018
I'll offer an opinion, with no hard numbers to back it.....so maybe just
thoughts to consider.
The baseline for the GEO mission payload at VT up through PDR (maybe two
or so years stale at this point?) was based on the AstroSDR from
Rincon. The folks at Rincon were super supportive and easy to work
with. I'm pretty sure there were some efforts around IP cores for
DVB-S2X with AHA (...more NDAs...) tailored for the AstroSDR as well
(not sure how far that went). We're actively pursing other missions at
VT/Hume that involve the AstroSDR in some way shape or form (two
engineering units are 'in the mail' as soon as NDAs and such get worked
out). To my limited understanding/eye it is about on par with the
capabilities associated with the E310 in terms of signal processing, but
obviously with lots of focus on flightworthiness for spaceflight
(radiation, thermal, etc.). So I would offer that VT *may* be able to
offer some insights into the AstroSDR (within the limits of our NDAs
with Rincon/Primes) as things progress on those contracts over the next
year and beyond (haven't learned much in the last couple years of being
on hold since the GEO PDR, but that should start to change here in the
next couple weeks).
The LimeSDR and Pluto as I understand it are just the SDRs, with no real
signal processing capability native to them, implying there would be a
need to develop the signal processing 'host computer' or FPGA or
whatever. The AstroSDR and the E310/320 have the compute power native
to them, so are more of a complete package.
In cases of a 'complete space SDR' (Ettus/Rincon/others), NDAs around
the devices seem to add a layer of complexity that makes open source
work more difficult (not impossible, but 'trickier'). Maybe that's a
deterrent for others, but clearly not for ORI. Tether's Unlimited has a
pretty sophisticated line of 'SWIFT SDRs' that might be an option (with
lots of options and capabilities for multiple bands from UHF through at
least Ka-Band). The L3 (Comm Systems West division) CADET is an SDR
'under the hood.' I think the Innoflight radios are SDRs as well. In
all three cases though, without engaging in pricey contracts and talking
a lot about fees for custom modifications, the baseline product you get
is just their 'custom firmware load' for whatever protocol you want the
radios to support, usually targeted at high rate data downlink, with
minimal uplink capability. There are probably many other 'complete
packages' at any number of defense contractors that would likely be
impossible for anyone other than US Gov to work with .
I'd offer that Ettus and Rincon seem to be the easiest to work with and
more receptive when it comes to developing with devices under NDA for an
overall open source project. The other companies I mentioned won't show
you whats behind the curtain, they'll ask for requirements, and charge
you an arm and a leg to have their own developers implement it to your
specs (if they do any more than just sell you the baseline model at
all).........not great for experimentation/prototyping/etc.........
I don't think I'm left field when saying the ideal case would be an open
source equivalent (or maybe even something less capable, but good enough
for proposed mission conops). Still pretty green in this whole arena,
but is there maybe some value to investigating the AMSAT work on the
ARISSsat SDX and maybe updating it based on more current technology?
The capabilities are a far cry from AstroSDR/E310 type devices though,
so that might be wasted effort if its a huge jump to the type of
capability we want. If not the SDX work itself, maybe a longer term
strategy/road map for ORI should include development of their own open
source 'space sdr.'
Aerospace Systems Lab
Ted & Karyn Hume Center for National Security & Technology
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Work Phone: 540-231-4174
Cell Phone: 540-808-6305
On 6/15/2018 12:29 PM, Michelle Thompson via Ground-Station wrote:
> The Careful COTS effort for a re-layout of the USRP for GOLF and Phase
> 4 Space has changed.
> Ettus declined to sign an NDA with AMSAT GOLF for the E310. It is
> assumed that GOLF will adopt the original plan presented at Symposium
> 2017. We have received no communications from GOLF since the minutes
> from the second Careful COTS conference call were published.
> Phase 4 Space will continue to work with Ettus and other open source
> teams to target the E320 as a potential communications package.
> The E320 layout will have to be redesigned, if that is what we choose
> to adapt. As previously discussed, radiation requirements are not the
> only concern. We need to know what we're doing with thermal as well.
> A variety of research efforts are active to adapt a USRP for higher
> orbits, with good published results from a number of universities.
> While not a bad choice at all considering the USRP is widely used,
> there are other alternatives for a baseline SDR.
> LimeSDR and the Pluto have been frequently brought up, and then there
> is also the Rincon AstroSDR.
> With IHUs developing, the challenge of producing a solid, open source
> communications hardware package needs some serious discussion. Comment
> and critique welcomed and encouraged.
> Continue with the E320?
> -Michelle W5NYV
> Ground-Station mailing list
> Ground-Station at lists.openresearch.institute
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