Design, development and industrialisation of a Payload Interface Unit (PLIU). The PLIU is the equipment that acts as an interface between the satellite central computer and the telecommunication payload for all types of TM/TC lines as well as heater interfaces.
It is Thales Alenia Space España's strategy to profit from this investment and these developments to address future opportunities in the potential markets listed below:
The project deals with the tasks needed to upgrade the reference PLIU product. The upgrading made it valid for O3B constellation satellites application attacking three main axes:
In summary, the proposed ARTES 4 activity intended to support O3B PLIU resulting contract by the realisation of these objectives and the development of a truly reference product for future opportunities.
The qualification of the ARTES4 PLIU EQM was focused on the new design based on FPGA and a complete qualification campaign was done in the different environmental fields as shown in the next picture.
The challenges have been related to the implementation improvement based on hybridisation and digital control module redesign.
Hybridisation of two main circuitries as follows:
Digital control module redesign was implemented in an FPGA that is the key part hosting all the intelligence of the equipment. The FPGA solution is the selected one taking into account the high Non Recurrent costs associated with the manufacturing of a new ASIC, and the cost, risk and scheduling advantages that this kind of parts present against ASIC solutions.
Over the last years, Thales Alenia Space España has also won several contracts for the supply of Data Handling units for a number of Earth observation satellites. These Data Handling units, which are the interface between the platform bus and the observation payload, benefit from the technical developments achieved in the frame of this ARTES project.
The replacement of the above-mentioned telecom and navigation satellite constellations (e.g. Globalstar, Iridium, O3b and Galileo) is expected in the long-term, as the lifetime of these satellites ranges from 10 to 15 years. In the short and mid-term, a significant volume of Earth observation programs is expected.
The PLIU is in charge of the interface between the Satellite Platform and the payload units. Its functions are:
The Project Plan is composed of the following axes to be developed:
The ARTES4 PLIU EQM Qualification Test Sequence was the following one:
According to MIL STD 1553 Electrical Validation and Production test plan optimization, Initial and Final Functional Tests included the MIL-STD-1553 Electrical Test (buses A and B), which were performed semi automatically.
The results of the ARTES4 PLIU work are the following:
Regarding the commercial accomplishments, Thales Alenia Space España was awarded the contract for the development of the PLIU for a constellation program, which was one of the two main targets. In addition, we have been awarded the contracts for the development of the Data Handling units for some Earth observation programs.