Objectives of consortium
Open standard as a growing trend
Ethernet will soon be around for 40 years. It does not in the world of
spacecraft where rocket engines from the 1960’s are hardly considered
outdated. So just like the CAN bus which is pervasive in automotive
applications and industrial control, Ethernet has only in recent years
been adopted for use in spacecraft as the space industry tends to wait
for technologies to mature elsewhere before adopting them (when it
has a choice and in avionics it does have a choice).
Main examples for Ethernet usage in space are the International Space
Station, NASA’s Orion MPCV and both Falcon launcher and Dragon
capsule by SpaceX. And certainly this is just the beginning as more
complex missions (e.g. Asteroid or satellite capturing) require more
efficient on-board networks which ideally combine bandwidth with
real-time properties to allow autonomous control functions.
Deterministic Ethernet is the answer. Even in telecommunication
satellites the data throughput could be optimized with a fully
synchronous, high-speed Ethernet backbone.
Finally, whole new space applications just like OneWeb’s constellation
will require not only the production methods of the aerospace industry,
but also most likely their approach to avionics which is also based on
Development of components without export restrictions
Clear focus of all development is an export free eco system. Without a
doubt, given the strategic importance of space assets, it is an industrial
imperative to maintain European independence on space qualified
Ethernet components. This has been recognized by both ESA, which
co-funds the development of radiation tolerant TTEthernet controller
ASIC, and the European Commission, which funds the development
of a radiation hardened 100 Mbps transceiver and a related 1 Gbps
physical layer feasibility study within the framework of Horizon 2020.